Thursday, August 21, 2014

What do secure text messaging and blood donations have in common? One is being used to boost the other. Everyone knows arranging for a blood donation in an emergency situation is a harrowing ordeal that involves contacting blood banks and finding quality donors. SMS is changing the way people receive donations thanks to services such as SMS for Blood and CallFire.

SMS for Blood

"The 24X7 SMS-based Blood Donor Response System (SMS for Blood) helps both blood donors and blood requesters,” says software engineer and service designer Shivanand M. “This application will serve Mysore and people in the surrounding areas. It's an automated system which facilitates speedy communication between donors and those who need it."

The engineer notes that while web-based donor lists are available, they’re not always convenient in emergency situations. After all, not everyone has the internet, but most have cell phones with text messaging capabilities. "Donors can register themselves in this system with their number and blood group,” the engineer says. “When someone needs blood, they send their requirement, and the message will be routed to this application through mobiles."

A blood requester who needs blood sends SMS to a designated mobile number in predefined format with required blood group through his mobile. The system processes the request and sends an SMS to those whose blood group matches with the requirement. Within a minute, 2-3 numbers of possible matches are sent to the requester from the database.


CallFire’s text messaging services are another example of how SMS is changing the way people receive blood donations. A southern blood bank called Blood Assurance needed an affordable and effective way of reaching out to potential donors, and looked to CallFire for options. The company’s SMS services proved invaluable.

“Out of 4,400 calls, we ended up with 12 positive responses, which turned into donors that presented themselves for donation,” says Blood Assurance telecommunicating team leader Avery Krouse. “For contacting donors who don’t necessarily know us, and people we don’t necessarily know that they donate, that’s what we consider to be a good response.”

“It might take less than 100 touches to get an appointment using text messaging through CallFire, whereas, compared to an internal emailing system, it might take 300 touches to get an appointment,” he noted.

Whether filling blood banks or seeking a donor, text messaging is proving to be an essential service. And where life-saving blood donations are concerned, time is always of the essence!