Blood on the Blockchain: Tokenizing Can Make Donations More Effective

Sunday 11 August 2020, 11:13 PM AEST - 2 days ago

A system in which health officials would be able to track blood donations from vein-to-vein in real-time, given the complexities of the blood supply chain, may sound impossible. However, using blockchain technology to track and trace blood supply chains may turn this idea closer to reality.

The American Red Cross estimates that someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. The organization further announced that its facing a severe shortage of blood, particularly that of convalescent plasma — a type of blood donation that contains antibodies collected from individuals who have recently recovered from COVID-19. Its clear that the blood supply chain is of vital importance, yet there are a number of challenges hampering the effectiveness of these systems.

Warren Tomlin, the digital and innovation leader for Ernst & Young Canada, told Cointelegraph that the firm has been working with the nonprofit organization Canadian Blood Services on a proof-of-concept to address traceability challenges by putting blood records on a blockchain network:

We realized how incredibly complex the blood supply chain was when we started working with Canadian Blood Services. Most people think about getting blood from donors, but what they often dont consider is the data associated with each donation.

According to Tomlin, numerous amounts of data is generated when blood donations are taken from donor centers and sent out to hospitals for transfusions. For instance, data from the donor is collected, along with data on the lab worker taking the blood. Equipment data and temperature data are also taken once blood samples are transferred to hospitals. Additional information is generated when blood is split into subproducts for plasma or antibody purposes. All of this data has to be tracked accordingly to ensure that waste, shortages and other inefficiencies dont occur, said Tomlin.

Based on this, a supply chain management solution capable of transparently tracing blood across its entire journey could greatly benefit the million-dollar blood market. Blockchain technology may provide an ideal solution for capturing data at its source and recording it se ...

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