The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.

How blockchain could ensure every drop of blood is tracked, and every outcome is measured

An EY team is putting “blood on a blockchain” to seek a better donor experience, transparency of blood operations, and to one day, drive better patient results.

Related topics Purpose Blockchain
Bag O Rh Positive Blood
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The better the question

How could blockchain ensure every drop of blood is tracked?

Blood donations are hard to monitor and don’t always reach their intended recipient.

For one of the most important services on the planet, blood service operations are equally complex and critical. Blood service operators maintain good visibility over the blood product while in their possession. However, once blood moves through the supply chain to a third party, it can be difficult to track and manage, allowing for risk and preventing powerful insights – connecting donors with outcomes.

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The better the answer

Building a protype for “vein to vein” blood monitoring

Using blockchain to power a self-updating tracking platform that offers powerful insights.

The EY Innovation team in Canada had collaborated with Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to examine its processes to find new opportunities to drive efficiencies and better serve donors and partners. The team saw an opportunity to meet this request through blockchain, potentially transforming the blood donation industry from “vein to vein” – from those giving blood, to those receiving it.

Blockchain is a secure, self-updating record, giving all users in its network real-time visibility into every transaction. For blood services, this would mean that every bag of blood is scanned and tagged at the time of donation, monitored throughout transportation, and tracked as it’s processed into additional products including plasma, cells and platelets. Blockchain makes it possible for every donation to reach its eventual recipient with improved transparency, driving potential improvements in efficiency and cost savings for the blood service organization, and better outcomes for patients.

To bring this proposal to CBS, an EY team was assembled from several different service lines and geographies. They created a proof-of-concept proposal that explained how the platform would work, protecting integrity and creating a snowball effect of insights – from donor data at one end to patient data at the other.

CBS saw the transformative potential of the solution and engaged the EY team to build the proof of concept. CBS has also asked the team to develop an additional prototype to test with a Canadian hospital.

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The better the world works

Ensuring that blood reaches those who need it most

Driving efficiencies to better match donors with recipients — and potentially save lives.

According to Warren Tomlin, Digital and Innovation Leader for EY Canada, “Pursuing innovation is really the intersection of invention and implementation. Inventions are just that – unless they are implemented. One without the other is not valuable to EY – or clients.” This project connects the two, infusing an EY pragmatic, business-focused approach with technical imagination to create something both revolutionary - and attainable. The output is both an effective answer to their client’s need, and a breakthrough solution utilizing a proprietary technology platform that could make CBS a leader in its industry.

The prototype has the potential to truly help change lives. Every blood donation is needed – and eventually each bag of blood could be paired with someone who needs it. And, as each bag moves through the supply chain, the data accumulated will be able to feed into Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, creating new insights that can be put to good use – to driving better outcomes.

For CBS, it means driving transformational efficiencies and cost savings at every level of the organization. For blood operators globally, it’s a first look into how emerging technology can transform the way blood reaches those who need it. For donors, it provides a clear view into how they are helping save lives. And for patients, it promises better – and possibly life-changing – results.