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Presentation submitted by Jonathan Kong and Amee Choksi.

Participating teams were challenged by Canadian Blood Services to identify, design and implement a solution to achieve “vein-to-vein” tracking and traceability of blood products from the “vein” of donors to the “vein” of recipients.

Executive Summary:

The problem presented in this case is as follows: How does the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) use technology to improve the traceability and use of its blood products (BP) in an effort to reduce product wastage and patient risk, thus ensuring accurate supply chain forecasting? The root causes determined were the lack of an automated link between CBS and hospital BP Laboratory Information Systems (LIS), and the lack of motivation in people to donate.

The proposed solution is two-fold, addressing both the demand of BP from hospitals, and supply of BP from donors. On the demand side, “CBS Data Warehouse 2.0” aims to automatically link hospital inventory systems to CBS. In addition, the new data warehouse will track the usage of BP transfusions through a peelable BP barcode label that will be affixed to the patient file. The use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology will help CBS achieve true vein-to-vein traceability of its BP. Hospital LIS are classified as medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration. As such, major changes, such as updating the software to create a direct link to CBS data servers will require risk re-assessments, validations, and 510k approval. Due to this setback, a new specialized barcode scanner will act as the link between the CBS data warehouse and the hospital inventory. This will add value to adopting hospitals as well as CBS. Hospitals can ensure that their product is not expired through an electronic validation of expiration date displayed on the specialized barcode scanner, thus reducing the overall risk to patients. CBS will benefit as they will be able to track the inflows and outflows of BP in hospital inventory on a real-time basis, allowing for accurate demand forecasting. Upon successful transfusion, scanning of the BP label on the specific patient file by hospital staff will allow CBS to perform true vein-to-vein data analytics. In the case where hospitals have an existing electronic medical record system, the appended BP barcode on the patient file will be sent to CBS. An inherent setback to vein-to-vein monitoring concerns privacy guidelines and regulations, which is specific to each hospital in each jurisdiction.

On the supply side, two marketing initiatives, with the goal of motivating people to donate blood, will help create a sustainable donor base. The first initiative is an annual raffle draw pushed through the GiveBlood mobile application. Users will be able to gain ‘Blood Drops’ or ballots by donating blood and/or referring friends. These ballots will be entered to win the monetary prize. The second initiative involves leveraging existing connections with doctors to ensure that they play an active role in recruiting potential donors to replenish used blood products from the blood bank.

This two-pronged solution is estimated to cost CBS around $230,000 and each adopting hospital a minimum of $2,000 to implement. It is scalable and sustainable as it adds value to both the hospitals and CBS. Moreover, it will integrate CBS’s supply chain processes with hospital care processes.

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