Our new IT system is helping to make your donation experience even better

If you’ve donated since March 2021 at one of our many venues, there’s a chance you’ve already experienced our new IT system first-hand.

It’s called Session Solution and has been introduced to teams up and down the country, replacing the system that our donation teams have used for the past 20 years.

Lauren and Jamie testing the new devicesYou may think that the devices being used are mobile phones. In fact, they are state of the art handheld computers running software developed by two experienced blood donation senior nurses, Jamie Norgrove and Lauren Botham.

(Picture: Lauren and Jamie testing the new devices)

Session Solution streamlines every step of the process that you go through when you come to give blood: from your welcome at the door right through to your life-saving donation being packed into our transportation containers ready to be taken to our processing teams.

We are putting in place the first steps to removing paper from sessions too. Thanks to the new system, we can start to digitise many processes; at this stage, we have already saved approximately half a million sheets of paper a year by designing a digital appointment grid. We have also future-proofed the software to enable continuous improvements to be made to the donor journey.

How does the new IT system work?

New hand-held deviceEach of our team colleagues carries a handheld device with them on session. The software on these devices compliments every step of the donation process. When you arrive at session, you will be warmly welcomed as normal, and your appointment will be located on the electronic appointment grid.  From here, colleagues at session will select your appointment and start your donation process.

(Picture: New hand-held device)

Team colleagues will input the outcome of your donation safety check and the system will then recommend the optimal collection pack for your donation, according to patient and hospital requirements.  Once you complete your donation, the system is used to record your attendance and to manage the process of packing your donation, ready to start its journey to our manufacturing centres and onward to hospitals.

This new system provides lots of useful information that will help colleagues respond more accurately to questions from donors, for example, ‘How long will I wait to donate today?’ and ‘I don’t have an appointment, can I still donate?’

Jamie and Lauren have been working on improving donor and colleague experience with Session Solution from the very beginning of the project. As senior nurses with over 40 years combined blood donation experience, they understand the need for this new technology in this critical front-line part of the NHS. They have a wealth of both clinical and operational knowledge and have been working with many collection teams and key stakeholders throughout the whole design, testing and implementation phases.

Jamie explains, "The improvements start at the beginning of the process with an easy-to-use digital appointment grid. From there our colleagues can check the donor into session and their journey begins. There is a digital queue to ensure that each donor is seen in the correct order of appointment within arrival time, which has made the front end of session more efficient."

Cabinet where all the information is storedLauren adds, "The system is giving colleagues better access to information about donors, at the time they need it. For example, being able to view a donor’s donation history at any point in the process.  The devices are only accessed by trained team colleagues and are password protected. No information is retained on the handheld devices and they are securely stored in a bespoke cabinet when not in use.

(Picture: Bespoke cabinet)

 "The handheld devices have built in scanners so colleagues can scan the donor number, Donor Safety Check, blood packs and transport containers at various checkpoints throughout the donation process, providing a more streamlined service to our volunteer donors."

Feedback from colleagues has been overwhelmingly positive. Says Jamie, "We’ve designed and implemented a system that is very easy to use; it is intuitive and takes colleagues through the donation process one step at a time."

The 17th November marked a special day in the project as we saw the very last team switch to Session Solution. To date we have run over 2000 donation sessions using this fantastic new system.

So, next time you donate, have a look and see if you can spot the changes we’ve made and let us know if there’s anything you’d like us to introduce as we move to the next exciting phase of Session Solution development.

One of our donor carers using the new hand-held device
One of our donor carers using the new hand-held device
The new device is used to scan the blood bags
The new device is used to scan the blood bags