Denesh Mutha, Founder, Strides Software Solutions
To start with, could you give a brief overview of the current status of the blood bank industry in India in terms of its market share and its overall progress?
Strides – Approximately 2700 blood banks across the nation.
What are some of the major challenges that the blood bank industry is currently facing in India?
Strides:- some of the major challenges include
* Catering to increase in demand without compromising on quality & service
* Adhering to compliances
* Resource Management – Mainly Manpower, stores & Supply chain mgmt
* Adapting to new processes and technologies.
* Donor Relationship Management
In what ways can the adoption of Information and Communication Technology help address these challenges, especially in improving the supply chain management of blood banks, management of donors and blood bags database, in bridging the existing supply-demand gap,etc?
Strides:- The biggest advantage of information & communication technology is in terms of helping the blood banks erase critical errors by reducing manual intervention. These errors in past and more often now, have led to serious problems at the patient end. Using Information & communication technology, blood banks can have proper automated controls in place which would validate the transactions and actions in blood bank and thus in turn helping blood banks in almost erasing manual errors. Proper use of IT will lead to increase in effectiveness and efficiency of the blood bank operations.
Please give us details about the technology solutions that your company is offering to the blood bank industry? In what ways are these technologies contributing in the progress of the industry?
Strides:- We provide a comprehensive Blood bank traceability and software mgmt solution
Using our software, the Blood banks can set control points in the operations enabling operations to be in line of compliance and error free. Our software drastically reduces the manual records keeping task which has been a high time consuming activity. Our software is a flow based system which enabled people to record data when it actually happened rather than just entering the records into the software for the sake of getting desired reports as per compliance. One of the key differentiation of our product is complete traceability of blood bags/Donors/Patients. We have come up with special barcode solution to achieve the same.
We strongly believe that Donor is the most important part of blood banks and we have spent lot of time making effective Donor relationship module with the objective of reaching out to more donors, connecting with them and engaging with them on ongoing basis. For this we have integrated our software with digital tools to achieve the same. In our effort to minimize manual data entry and intervention we have integrated different laboratory equipments with our software through RS232 ports.
Could you share details about the initial hiccups that you faced while introducing your technology solutions to the industry?
Strides:- The major hiccups has been the resistance of users/technicians to computer management software with a thought that it would be tough to do changes once mistakes have been done. The other challenge has been the thought of going for Blood banking software just for the sake of easy compliance reports and not with the objective of quality & service. The other challenge is the lack of awareness in terms of the advantages and utilities of a proper BBMS. Its implementation process is very critical as it goes in parallel to its live operations and if not taken up slowly & carefully the chances of success is very less. This requires gaining the confidence of the key users i.e., the technicians and front office executives.
How has your experience been in dealing with blood bank owners and vendors so far? Are they willing to adopt latest technologies or are they apprehensive about technology changes? Have they undergone any attitudinal shift over the past few years?
Strides:- One interesting point which we faced earlier was, most of our customers had tried couple of software systems earlier but it didn’t succeed. Hence the trust of Blood banks on IT software vendors is low and the confidence of success is less as well. Lot of blood banks have a big block in terms of investment in latest technologies as they consider this as an expense and not an investment which would lead to effectiveness and efficiency. Things are slowly changing.
How do you foresee the future of ICT in the blood bank industry?
Strides:- We foresee ICT to have a major role in the blood bank industry and are very optimistic about the future. We also see lot of scope for innovations in the blood bank industry using ICT especially for traceability, LIS and donor relationship management.
What are the other technologies or solutions that are in the pipeline?
Strides:- We are focusing on traceability and tracking of blood bags using smart tags. We are working on two way integrations with various LIS. We are working on remote / wireless temperature control tags. We are working on Business intelligence system & Decision support system for Blood banks.