Blood Donor App Wins 50k In European Health Funding

MOODìka Srl from Italy has been awarded €50k worth of EU funding under the EIT Health HeadStart scheme for their smartDONOR® mobile application. smartDONOR® supports blood donors by telling them when blood is needed, allowing them to schedule their blood donation appointments and also providing helpful tips and pieces of advice for blood donors.

In short, the app’s goal is to digitalise all communications around blood donation.

“In our city, in the country and in the rest of Europe there is this problem of blood donation scheduling and blood donation supply,” said Marco Cannemi, the founder of MOODìka.

smartDONOR® can help to address the key issues faced by blood donation associations today:

Less people give blood every year
There are fewer young people involved in blood donation – just 29% of all blood donors in Italy are aged less than 35.
Local demand and the scheduling of giving blood needs to be better aligned.
What do smartDONOR® mean by aligning local demand with the scheduling of giving blood? Well, blood donations are freely given, of course. Blood is not produced. Blood donation organisations must accept blood when it is given. However, the average man can only give blood once every three months. So, when a crisis strikes, there is usually a rush of well-intentioned donors lined up to give blood. But the blood donation organisations actually need a certain amount NOT to give blood at the crisis point, otherwise there will be no one left to give blood in the following months.

“There needs to be a trusted system through which the blood donor associations can say, OK, stop coming, otherwise we won’t have donors for the next few months,” Marco said.

Couldn’t they spread this information more quickly through social media, we asked?

“Unfortunately a lot of fake news about blood donation is spread through social media,” Marco told us. “Sometimes these fake messages ask people to donate money to fund blood donations. Asking for one euro to save a life, a child’s life.”

smartDONOR® received their first dose of funding through the Social Challenges Innovation Platform initiative, which was coordinated by META Group. Social Challenges provided a challenge-based approach to solving societal challenges while simultaneously boosting entrepreneurship in regions and cities. Small cities performed particularly well – you can read more about the impact of the Social Challenges initiative here.

Social Challenges gave MOODìka the training and mentorship needed to launch the app not only in Sicily, where the founders are from, but throughout Italy as a whole. This was pretty challenging, Marco said.

“Every region in Italy has a different health system. In Italy, we have a national overall health system, but the management of each region is different.”

That made it tricky to implement the app in every part of Italy, but they did it. The app features 92 blood donor associations across the country.

The features of the app include a messaging function that feeds donors with updates from their local blood bank, a scheduling feature that allows donors to set up their appointments online, and attempts to match local demand with supply, and a blood diary that stores all the details of your donations. There’s also some general information for first-time donors and practical guidance about what blood donation entails.

MOODìka’s sights are now set in Europe, and the new grant from EIT Health should facilitate a swift roll-out. Their vision is that in three short years, smartDONOR® will be the standard communication tool for promoting and assisting blood donation in Europe.

“One blood donation can save three lives,” Marco said. “If we help blood donor associations, if we can help blood donations to rise by just one donor per year, we have saved a lot of lives.”