Pilot Program Uses PageGate Software
AT&T WIRELESS GRANT HELPS BLOOD CENTER
USE TECHNOLOGY TO REACH BLOOD DONORS .
Blood Center and AT&T Wireless launch pilot program
in King County
Sept. 14, 2004 -- SEATTLE, WA - Puget Sound Blood Center
today announced that AT&T Wireless is providing a $25,000
grant to fund the deployment of an innovative program
that will change the way the local blood supply is managed
in emergency situations. The Blood Center, the state's
largest blood center, will launch a pilot program --
the first of its kind in the country - enabling the
organization to directly alert specific blood donors
and volunteers in "real time" via wireless text messaging.
AT&T Wireless is funding a text-messaging pilot for
six months to help the Blood Center target type O blood
donors - a blood type that is in the greatest demand.
Type O blood is considered the "universal donor" and
can be transfused into any patient in an emergency.
On Sept. 15 at 10 a.m., the Puget Sound Blood Center
will host a press conference and demonstration to introduce
the pilot program, answer questions and show how text
messaging will be used to contact donors. Puget Sound
Blood Center is located at 921 Terry Ave., in Seattle.
Members of the press are encouraged to attend.
The need to reach donors and volunteers quickly and
effectively has never been greater. Emergency situations,
such as automobile or other accidents, create an immediate,
lifesaving need for specific blood types. Furthermore,
the active lives led by blood donors or volunteers can
make it challenging for the Blood Center to reach them
quickly using email or phone calls.
The Blood Center regarded the decision to work with
AT&T Wireless as a natural extension of its history
in leveraging technology to improve operations, reduce
costs and increase its donor base.
"Puget Sound Blood Center must retain donors and increase
our donor base in midst of an aging population and increasing
health screening limitations," said Dr. Richard Counts,
CEO and president of Puget Sound Blood Center. "We currently
utilize a combination of phone calls, email and online
appointment scheduling to reach our donor and volunteer
base. With the number of cell phones in use today, text
messaging provides another avenue to efficiently reach
our donors and volunteers in ways that are both convenient
for them and resource efficient for us."
Though text messaging is not a new technology, the
idea of utilizing it to communicate quickly with potential
donors is. Text messaging has recently gained popularity
through associations with several high profile entertainment
organizations. Every day it is being used to enhance
personal and business communications across the country.
The idea of broadening use of the technology to save
lives appealed to AT&T Wireless. "The Blood Center is
a leader in utilizing technology and developing applications
used nationwide to enhance its lifesaving programs,"
said Mike Maxwell, AT&T Wireless vice president of sales
for Washington and Oregon. "AT&T Wireless is pleased
to support a project that further advances text messaging,
while helping the Blood Center improve or save lives."
Background on Pilot Program
The goal of the six-month pilot program is to seek permission
and measure the willingness of donors and volunteers
to respond to emergency requests to make blood donations
or work shifts. Beginning late October of 2004, the
program will target volunteers and donors in King County
who have text-messaging enabled AT&T Wireless phones.
The Blood Center will recruit existing donors but interested
participants can register for the program by visiting
starting at the end of October, 2004.
During the study, the Blood Center will track the number
of donors and volunteers reached, response rates from
these groups, impact on blood inventory levels and volunteer
shifts as well as overall feedback on the convenience
and ease of use of the technology. Once data from the
pilot program is evaluated, the Blood Center will consider
expanding it to other blood donors and other counties
it serves in Western Washington in 2005.