Haemobility Mobile Blood Donation
Innovation Design Engineering, Royal College of Art, London
Haemobility Mobile Blood Donation
It addresses a system that has not changed in 50 years. It addresses a huge issue in society where there is a fall-off of awareness amongst the youth. It makes this more accessible. It has a beautiful interface. The time constraints of traditional testing have been relieved, there is a faster turn-around time. Kills the stigma of blood donation. The most important thing is a shift in behaviour in service industry. – Ravi
Well thought through. Responsible. Its a clever blood type testing solution. Its all about context.. Its a modular solution that can be put into a whole lot of context. – Heinrich
Brings efficiency and slickness of a hospital on to the high street. Moves away from the medical stigma which induces a lack of interest. – Porky
A thoroughly tested project, very effective. Sensitive design. It experiments towards something closer to we’ve taken for granted for years… That’s important to design. – Y. Tsai
Haemobility Mobile Blood Donation
Haemobility re-imagines mobile blood donation in the UK and addresses the need for wider participation within our growing and ageing population. A simple and intuitive low-cost testing device, available in first aid kits and official application forms, reveals blood type. The visibility of blood donation in daily life is increased through the dispersal of new hyper-mobile blood donation trolley. The trolley allows for donations to take place in diverse locations, while making carer tasks easier and safer, and enhancing donor experience. A new safer needle carrier design is less intimidating and reduces the chance of needlestick injuries for carers.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
With a growing ageing and general populous in the UK, demand for blood will increase in the future. The initial problem was encouraging wider participation within blood donation amongst the population, and maintaining lifelong donors. Only 4% of the eligible population donate, with 8,000 units of blood (i.e. 8,000 donations) currently required daily. The number of 17 year old donors has fallen 50% in the last year, a worrying statistic since 225,000 new registered donors are required annually. A crucial focus was also tackling the visibility and stigma of blood donation. The primary reason for not donating is lack of knowledge, with mobile donations currently hidden in church and school halls. Less than 40% of the UK population know their blood type, while local demand for blood is not well publicised. The other major barrier to donation is needle fear, so this was another key focus point to address to further encourage donors. From primary research, it has found that mobile blood donation units were very basic, while showcasing little innovation since their inception. The units represented a medicalised process; we aimed to instead develop a humanised service. The equipment used was not mobile, with material handling injuries representing the highest injury occurrence in the NHS Blood service. Furthermore, mobile units could take 11 people over an hour to set up, wasting valuable donation time. Finally, in 2011 there were 180 needlestick injuries to NHS Blood service staff, potentially costing up to £650,000 each.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
We formulated the brief ourselves based on opportunities discovered primarily through experiencing blood donation ourselves and interviewing numerous stakeholders. The existing process represents a medicalised process; we aimed instead to develop a design driven proposition, a humanised service. We intended to disrupt the mobile blood donation process, resulting in an outcome that sits within a unique innovation space. The multi-disciplinary team brought human-centred design principles for the benefit of donors, carers and NHS Blood Service stakeholders. We applied imminent technologies to propose a revolutionary humanised service that considers people, service and technology. In summary, the three main aims of the project were raising awareness and knowledge of blood donation, increasing registration and participation and finally delivering an improved mobile donation experience for our three key stakeholders identified through research; the donor, donor carer (who look after donors) and NHS Blood Service.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The key stakeholders the project focussed on were donors, their carers and the NHS Blood and Transfusion Service (NHSBT). The project wanted to create the best possible experience for donors throughout the process, ensuring that their donation felt valued and that they would be willing to re-donate. The needs of the donor carers were the ability to safely and effectively carry out their work, being able to focus on donors, rather than intensive set-up and running on the current mobile units. Finally, for NHSBT, it was to create an effective and efficient blood donation service that meets current and future demand for blood, the latent and explicit needs of donors and carers, all while being cost effective to implement and maintain. To best understand the process, team members donated blood at both permanent and mobile units. This allowed us to experience the process from a donor’s point of view, while also interacting with carers. We interviewed donors and donor carers at units to compound the insights we had gained. We also gained project input from public health specialists, transfusion experts, haematologists, transfusion recipients and NHSBT management to ensure that our project outcomes were appropriate. From this primary research, crucial design constraints were compiled for each product. Prototyping played a key role in the iterative development of each product intervention. For the blood type tester, it was found that testers were complicated and unintuitive to use and interpret. A number of tests were carried out to create a one-stage method of delivering blood to the testing site, while the other testing strand focussed on how to make results simple to interpret. When prototyping the trolley, full scale mock ups were made to test design factors such as ergonomics and equipment layout. Scenarios were created with the trolleys, with a mock blood donation completed. Units of 10 trolleys were also built to ensure that the solution was scalable and feasible at a commercial level. Finally, the needle delivery device was prototyped extensively to test its form and function. Experts were consulted throughout the process to gain external point of view on all outputs. To link the product interventions and ensure a feasible solution, it was important to consider the system at a wider level. System design and user experience were considered throughout the process, ensuring a balance between product and service design, to deliver the most effective outcome.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
The project increases participation in blood donation, ensuring a stable supply of blood to meet rising future demand. Increased donations are encouraged using the blood type tester to raise awareness and educate users about their blood type, with a simple one-stage usage and written ABO type. This in conjunction with highly visual data about local blood demand encourages donations through positive empowerment of potential donors. The new mobile trolley unit challenges lack of knowledge about blood donation, being highly visible in new locations such as shopping centres. The trolley allows more time to be spent on donations, rather than on set-up and take-down, maximising time to collect and process donations. The trolley eliminates material handling completely, cutting out expensive injury costs for the NHSBT. It also makes carers jobs easy, quicker and safer, with easy to clean surfaces and ambidextrous design, while ensuring the experience is the best possible for donors, with distraction techniques and a transparent service. The needle device is less intimidating for donors, with the needle hidden from view. The design was also made to sit much more ergonomically on comfortably on the arm during donation. For donors benefit, the device was made to be used one-handed in a single operation, ensuring successful venipuncture. On removal from the vein, the one-handed operation in conjunction with a needlestick prevention mechanism ensure safe working practises for carers. Overall, Haemobility presents a paradigm shift in mobile blood donation, revolutionising both the equipment and service.6. Did the context of your project change throughout its development? If so, how did your understanding of the project change?
We had quantitative data that suggested blood demand would rise considerably based on existing resources. We concluded that the increase in participation could not be reached if the status quo was maintained. This allowed scope for an entirely new proposal of a service that was more accustomed to people’s changing lifestyles and needs. As the project developed we made our design decisions with co-design input from important stakeholders, rather than designing in isolation. This was highly iterative and unveiled interesting insights that we would have overlooked, had it not been informed by users. Our thorough process gives us confidence that the deliverables of the project would be feasible, successful and appropriate for the stakeholders within blood donation. Our proposition would initially be a trial flagship mobile unit (of ten trolleys) to be used as a test bed to validate and verify the design proposition. Only after longer term trials can we truly know that the values we are advancing are desired by the community we are working with. Overall however, even if a 0.5% rise in donation (about 400 donations) is achieved, this has the potential to save 1,600 lives, since a 1 pint donation can be used to save up to four lives. This increase has the potential to make strong social impact, and should be highly achievable with the improved visibility and knowledge created by Haemobility.7. How will your project remain economically and operationally sustainable in the long term?
Blood donation is non-profitservice, however it was crucial that an economically sustainable solution was proposed. Initially, the blood type tester could be marketed under an advertising campaign for blood donation, and then included in all driving license applications in the UK, as a mandatory part of the application. This would allow further government funding and an extension of the available pool of donors. It is hoped that the tester could earn money from licensing as a simple, low cost and intuitive blood type tester. The trolley could be rolled-out as part of the NHSBT future strategy for blood donation, which is currently on going. During delivery, design for production and assembly were key considerations, while all parts are easily serviceable and maintainable. Initially, the trolleys could be used as a small pop-up unit for high visibility, then being developed into 10 mobile units (of 10 trolleys). Eventually it is hoped all mobile units would be replaced by the trolley. Further funding could be gained from licensing the trolley to international blood services and companies. Operationally, money is saved from material handling injuries, while time spent on donations (i.e. income generation for NHSBT) is maximised. The needle minimises costly needlestick injury costs, and could be sold to the current supplier of NHSBT transfusion equipment, Macopharma. This would ensure that development and clinical costs are not sustained by the NHS themselves, while instigating a new, higher standard of transfusion needles (allowing Macopharma to be the first to market also).