Blood donation drives are often held especially when blood banks are low in supply or demand escalates. Keeping a constant healthy supply is essential as demand can come at unexpected moments. When a blood transfusion request is received by the blood bank, a matching process is done. The first process is ensuring ABO (Rhesus) compatibility before a cross match is performed to ensure the best compatibility between the blood of donor and recipient.
Some blood types are much rarer, for example B negative, who can only receive either B negative or O negative blood, both of which are not common blood groups. It is times like these that blood banks may have to call upon their trusted donor database to provide these much needed blood.
With the advancement of technology, the process of blood donation and matching can be made much simpler, especially in sourcing for the rare or specialty blood groups.
We recently got in touch with the founder of BloodGo, Jarod Law Ding Yong,to get a little more insight into this initiative to uberise blood donations.
What is your inspiration for this venture?
I am an solution architect and engineer by profession, and also a frequent blood donor.
I was born with deuteranopia and protanopia, both being forms of colour blindness. Although I had dreamed of becoming a scientist, chemical engineer or medical professional, my colour blindness had prevented me of realising these dreams. I had to accept the painful truth that having difficulties for example in differentiating the change of colour of a litmus paper, would stifle my ambitions. It was one of the hardest moments in my life.
Since 2000, I had received between 9 to 11 “blood donation request” messages a year. It started during the time where SMS was still widely used. It was not an efficient way of communication and often times messages were not delivered on time.Well by starting this initiative, I am able to contribute to the society. This venture also helped to connect me with my previous ambitions in the area of science and health.
I have always believed that a social project should be for the long-term, and done for the right reasons. BloodGo is part of this belief and is how I would like to work on a probono social project, being a long-term commitment and transcending borders.
2. BloodGo currently has 762 listed blood donors. How do you plan to increase this number? Is there an incentive programme?
I am always taking the opportunity to talk to private companies and business groups about BloodGo, either to recruit more blood donors or to look for a collaboration or investment possibility.
BloodGo has also been working with organisers of blood donation drives, to help spread the awareness of such a platform and inviting blood donors to sign up. Future blood donation drives can also utilise BloodGo to help inform registered blood donors of such planned events.
In addition, BloodGo initiates care-ambassador programmes with university students. This is a volunteer-based programme for these students to participate in propagating awareness and help with recruiting new donors. Volunteers with outstanding contributions will be rewarded with official recognition from BloodGo.
3. Do you list the blood donors based on the blood type, eg A+, B+, B- etc… , apart from the location? Is this information available on the platform?
Yes, a donor will have to submit his/her ABO blood type and the preferred geographical area. The registered donor will then get a customised notification based on this information.
Donors’ information will be strictly confidential and will only receive a notification if a request matches his/her blood type and is from the preferred geographical location.
Donor is not obligated to respond to these notification if he/she so chooses and donor information will not be shared until he/she chooses to contact the individual who made the request.
The current number of registered blood donors based on the blood groups are as below :-
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4. How does the notifications from BloodGo work?
This is not a blinded broadcast.
The system is capable of matching by the ABO Rh blood group and also the preferred geographical location. Therefore the message delivered will be more accurate and effective as it is only sent to matched donors.
5. I see that there are only 2 specialty blood requests since you started in November 2017, have these 2 requests been fulfilled successfully?
The first submission was mistakenly submitted by a donor, the second was a demo submission to an association.
So far there is no real requests yet.
6. Is there an app or a mobile platform? Perhaps then a better integration with Apple Health or Google Health can happen.
No, we do not see a huge impact or benefit in developing an application and/or integrating with Apple Health or Google Health in terms of improvements in donor-requestor relationship. It will also involve a considerably higher financial investment and maintenance costs. We will keeping it a mobile web-app for now.
Our platform development principle is: KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid (Sweet)
7. How do you think you can sustain this business model in the long run?
As blood donations do not involve any monetary transaction, this is purely a charitable venture.
I am aiming to make it to a fully automated system, minimising the manual workload. In order to achieve this, I will need a good number of donors, and a heightened platform awareness through partnerships/collaborations/sponsorship with any like-minded public or private entities.
I believe this platform will benefit certain types of organisations, and a broader and more diverse collaboration is key. The system is built to reach out to the global audience and will soon look forward to more contributions from other countries.
You can visit their site at http://www.bloodgo.com for further information.