2017 Edelman Finalist American Red Cross with GA Tech

American Red Cross Uses Analytics-based Methods to Improve Blood Collection Operations

The American Red Cross, in partnership with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, have developed a blood collection model to increase the amount of whole blood that can be processed into the blood product cryoprecipitate (cryo). Cryo plays a critical role in clotting and controlling hemorrhaging, and is often used in the treatment of massive trauma and major diseases, including metastasized cancers, cardiac diseases, hepatic failures, and organ transplants. After reviewing blood collecting and processing schedules, collection locations, and other factors, the researchers developed a mathematical model and analysis that led to a Decision Support Tool (DST) implemented by the Red Cross Southern Region. The implementation of the DST led to an increase in the number of whole blood units satisfying the tight collection to process completion time constraint for cryo production (capacity expansion). In particular, during the fourth quarter of 2016, the Red Cross Southern Region was able to process about 1000 more units of cryo per month (an increase of 20 percent) at a slightly lower collection cost (cost avoidance), resulting in an approximately 40 percent reduction in the per unit collection cost for cryo. This DST has been presented at the national level at the Red Cross, and plans are in place to extend the implementation of the DST to the 11 other Red Cross cryo processing facilities in the future.