Blood Chain - Tracking Blood Journey through Blockchain

No one should die from lack of blood. To date there is no artificial replacement for blood. Thus, blood donation is necessary. Most of the therapies such as chemotherapy, organ transplantation and heart surgeries, require a massive amount of blood and blood products.

The blood shortage problem is costing thousands of lives annually. According to the annual report of NRCS 2015/16, nationwide blood collection of Nepal was 2,30,986 pints while the requirement was for 3,10,623 pints, which means there is a demand-supply gap of almost 80,000 pints. On top of that, the holidays like Dashain and Tihar are notoriously lean times for blood donations. Can we resolve this by making blood supply more efficient?

There are two key issues contributing to this problem -

  1. Once blood is collected, it needs to be preserved. There is still wastage of 20 percent of the blood collected. It usually happens when the blood isn’t properly transported when the required temperature of the blood is not maintained.
  2. There are people who don’t participate in the regular donation process because they dislike the lack of transparency on how their donation is used later on. Most of them believe the blood is being misused by blood banks and hospitals.

Therefore, the problem is the tracking and allocation of the donation transparently during its useful life. Blockchain can help track provenance in the blood supply chain making it more transparent. A blockchain, as the name implies, is a distributed copy of the database or a ledger in a network where information stored in the ledger is made up of blocks and linked together in a chain. Each block is connected to all the blocks before and after it - in a series of records. The records on a blockchain are stored securely through cryptographic hash function.  Each member in the blockchain network owns full copy of the ledger. This makes it difficult to alter a record in blockchain because a hacker would need to decipher the block containing that record in the blockchain as well as all the copies of distributed ledgers in the network to avoid detection of manipulation. This makes blockchain technology basically tamper proof hence, unchangeable and permanent. This way everyone has access to a shared single source of truth and can always trust the blockchain.

Therefore, blockchain can create a safer blood donation process. With blockchain, blood can be tracked in a decentralized manner. Since the information in blockchain is immutable making all the parties in blood supply chain accountable. This would decrease the amount of blood wasted by better tracking and allocating donations to ensure they are used while they’re viable.

Additionally, the donor’s personal data can be connected to their blood in an anonymized fashion. This means that it will be easy to verify the origin of the blood and verify that it safe to use, maintaining data integrity. Since the blood will be tracked, donors can also receive notifications when their blood is used. Hamro Lifebank in Nepal is rolling out its smart blood donation app to help regulatory bodies to track blood. The system also notifies the donor once the donated blood is used - sending thank you SMS. This motivates people to donate more blood by providing more transparency in the blood supply chain.  -

Lifebank is mobilizing blood donations in Nigeria, combining both high tech -blockchain and low tech -phones solutions. The company developed a smart blood system on a blockchain, allowing both patients and healthcare providers access to information about the blood supply processing records. It ensures an optimum level of safety and transparency throughout the testing and supplying a chain of blood and blood products. -

Blockchain is a game changer for supply chain management. Every time a product changes hands, the transaction could be documented, creating a permanent history of a product, from manufacture to sale. This could dramatically reduce time delays, added costs, and human error. Imagine a world where no person needs to die with a shortage of blood. This is the possibility presented by the blockchain technology.

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