Better use of data and analytics will enable the service to provide a more effective and more streamlined service, improving outcomes for patients
“By adopting new genotyping technology and building infrastructure, we will be better able to match blood for multi-transfused recipients, and organs and stem cells for transplantation,. More precise matching will ultimately lead to better clinical outcomes.” NHS Blood and Transplant Strategy: A world where every patient receives the donation they need
NHS Blood and Transplant, the body responsible for managing blood donations and organ transplants, has launched a new strategy for 2022 to 2026.
The strategy document sets out how the organisation will modernise its operations including making greater use of data and responding to emerging technologies and consumer trends. It plans to build integrated datasets, use genotyping to match blood donors more effectively with patients, develop algorithms to carry out the matching and undertake clinical trials to demonstrate that this works.
Currently, the paper notes, more than 800,000 people donate blood, while at least 5,000 blood donations are needed every day to meet patient need. The service requires 150,000 new blood donors every year, including 40,000 donors of Black heritage and 30,000 donors with priority blood groups, such as O negative.
Thirty million people have recorded a decision to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register, and 1,500 people donate their organs after death every year. However, 2,000 more organ transplants are needed every year to meet demand.
In response to this increased demand, the strategy document sets out five priorities:
Genotyping is already being used in the service to match white blood cells, stem cells and organs to recipients. The intention is to widen the usage to include genotyping of red cells and platelets. “By adopting new genotyping technology and building infrastructure, we will be better able to match blood for multi-transfused recipients, and organs and stem cells for transplantation,” the document says. “More precise matching will ultimately lead to better clinical outcomes.”
In order to increase the number of donors, and match them more effectively with patients, the service will make greater use of digital technology. This will include investing in “core IT platforms, systems and cyber capabilities to improve resilience”, adopting an “integrated approach to testing and diagnostics” in order to gain efficiencies from scale, and using benchmarking, data and analytics to drive continuous performance improvement.
To measure whether the new interventions are effective, the service will “build and analyse national data sets to understand patient outcomes and track the impact of different interventions over time.”
As an example of how digital technologies are already making a difference, the document says that when donors arrive to give blood, frontline staff use connected mobile devices to give them near real-time access to donor data.
The strategy also includes an intention to develop a roadmap to achieve Net Zero by 2040.