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June 29, 2015updated 20 Jul 2021 1:17pm

In Stockholm, blood donors get a text when they’ve saved a life

By Kat Houston

I think I’d like to know when my blood is coursing through someone else’s veins. Great news, then, that a Swedish blood centres now text donors to notify them when their blood is used to help save someone’s life.

The initiative kicked off in Stockholm three years ago. It’s had such a positive response, on social media and beyond, that it’s now being rolled out across the whole country.

Image: Screenshot of @robertlenne’s Twitter feed.

In fact, donors get several such texts. One thanks them for donating; others express gratitude whenever the blood is used. A spokeswoman for the Stockholm blood service, Karolina Blom Wiberg, told the Independent: “We are constantly trying to develop ways to express [donors’] importance. We want to give them feedback on their effort, and we find this is a good way to do that.”

In other words, it’s a way of both making people feel appreciated, and, we suspect, reminding them that they might want to donate again some time. Nifty.

This isn’t the only way the Swedish authorities are using better communications to encourage blood donors. To avoid a shortage, the authorities have decided the best way is to be open and honest about how much blood they actually have. Dynamic online infographics keep track of which blood types the blood banks in various regions require to remain at safe levels in future. (You can see a screenshot at the top of this page.)

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”The same info as we have internally is shown externally,“ Blom Wiberg says. The hope is that, in times of need, people will run to their nearest clinic, arms at the ready and give, give, give.

Maybe the UK could learn a few lessons here. According to NHS data released in early June, there are 40 per cent fewer donors today than there were 10 years ago. With stats like that, maybe we could all do with some encouragement by text.

If you fancy giving blood in the UK, then why not click here.

Kat Houston is web editor at Design Curial.

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