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In Sweden the Blood Bank Will Text You When Your Blood is Used

Stockholm’s blood bank uses text messages and Facebook posts to remind donors to give again

(Science Photo Library/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

It can be hard to convince would-be blood donors to return to banks again and again — even though donated blood saves thousands of lives each year. Now, writes The Independent’s Jon Stone, public health officials in Sweden may have hit on an answer: use social media and text messaging to battle blood shortages.

Stone writes about a new initiative that not only reminds donors it’s time to give more blood, but helps them understand the impact of their donations. A representative from Stockholm’s blood service tells Stone that they’ve started texting donors when their donated blood saves a life — a move that’s generated plenty of buzz on social media.

That’s just the beginning for the new program. Donors can opt to be bugged via SMS and even Facebook until they donate again, writes Stone. And even those who haven’t donated can log on to the Stockholm blood service website to see live charts of how much blood is in stock.

The service takes advantage of the power of group pressure. And social media can be used to up other donations, too. When researchers at Johns Hopkins studied a Facebook initiative that let friends share their organ donor status with others, they observed a 21-fold increase in organ donor registrations in just one day.

Perhaps Sweden’s innovative initiatives will find its way to a smartphone near you. In the meantime, consider this your reminder to donate blood — after all, each donation can save up to three lives.

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