Mixed Reality Improves Blood Donation Experience
At CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Abbott (a global leader in screening blood and plasma) and Blood Centers of America (largest blood supplier network in the U.S.) revealed the launch of their new Mixed Reality project designed to make blood donation more pleasant.
In their press release about the new project Abbott and Blood Centers of America highlighted the struggles of sustaining our nation’s blood supply. They also pointed out the compounding affects with the decline of donors under the age of 30 over the last decade. A couple of statistics they shared was that on average only 3% of the U.S. population donates blood and only 15% of 18-to-34-year-olds donated blood in 2020.
The struggle is real for healthcare officials to figure out how to keep up with the nation’s blood supply demand and to find donors. As a result, Abbott and Blood Centers of America keep an open-minded approach to find new ways to attract new blood donors. They also want to make the experience as pleasant as possible to keep donors coming back and share the positive experience with others.
The latest initiative to attract blood donors features mixed reality to distract users from the process. Before anything was created, research was conducted to find what donors prefer to see as they donate blood. The results found the most effective setting was a natural environment to keep users calm throughout the whole process. Donors don the Microsoft Mixed Reality headset the HoloLens and “visit a whimsical garden while listening to soothing music, planting seeds that grow into colorful trees and flowers.”
Harpreet K. Sandhu, CEO, Stanford Blood Center (Palo Alto, Calif.) and chairperson of Blood Centers of America had this to say about the project. “The mixed reality experience is a terrific way to get those people interested in participating. It adds a fun, interactive element to donation and it’s easy and convenient for blood centers to use.”
The pilot launch has generated widespread media coverage and results received are “a positive experience for blood donors and to encourage the public to donate” said David C. Rhew, M.D., global chief medical officer and vice president of healthcare, Microsoft.
The experience is currently being piloted on a limited basis at select Blood Centers of America locations nationwide. Future plans and goals are to roll the experience nationwide to attract and retain more blood donors.