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Abbott and Blood Centers of America Revamp Blood Donation with MR

Abbott and Blood Centers of America uses MR for blood donation stress reduction

According to a recent study that was published online and in the print version of the journal Transfusion in February, donors who use mixed reality technology, developed by Abbott and Blood Centers of America (BCA), report feeling less anxious and are more likely to donate blood in the future.

The results of the pilot research indicate that mixed reality is an innovative tool with the potential to improve donor participation, contentment, and preservation, experts say.

In June 2023, Blood Centers of America, the biggest blood supply network in the United States, and Abbott, the world leader in blood and plasma screening, will provide a mixed reality experience for blood donors. It may now be found in a number of donation locations around the nation, such as those in the Chicago region, Houston, and New York. Soon, more locations for blood donation will provide the experience.

The immersive digital experience created by Abbott and BCA in mixed reality aims to enhance the blood donation process, draw in new donors, and inspire the next generation of blood donors. Donors experience a virtual world while maintaining complete awareness of their physical surroundings by donning lightweight mixed reality headsets. The endeavour attempts to tackle the worldwide problem of maintaining a steady supply of blood.

282 blood donors who tested mixed reality at 54 collection locations in Houston and the Quad Cities region of Iowa and Illinois were the subjects of the pilot research.

68.4% of the 142 donors who had expressed worry before donating said that their anxiety was reduced by using mixed reality throughout the process. Fear of needles, fear of fainting, fear of the unknown, worry that donation would hurt, and fear of feeling horrible after giving were the most common reasons for pre-donation anxiety.

89.2% of donors who used mixed reality during their donation expressed a desire to return and make further donations.

Co-author of the study and regional medical director for Abbott’s blood division in the United States, Theodore Kieffer, MD, said that they discovered that many blood donors can find relief from tension and relaxation while using MR throughout their donation process. The fact that this invention enhances the act of giving blood and can encourage younger people to donate is heartening.

Professionals who donate blood may securely complete the donation and communicate with donors at every stage thanks to the mixed reality experience. Donors’ eyes are always visible throughout donation since the mixed reality glasses are transparent, allowing for ongoing observation and assessment.

Based on studies demonstrating that natural environments are the most desirable ones for blood donors, the mixed reality experience was created. While viewing a charming virtual garden, users may sow seeds that sprout into vibrant trees and flowers, move a cursor with their eyes, and enjoy relaxing music.

The idea was created to assist blood centres recruit younger donors and increase the sustainability of the country’s blood supply, since over the last ten years, donors under the age of thirty had declined by almost 30%. Just 3% of eligible Americans give blood on a yearly basis.

Younger donors had the most enthusiasm in using mixed reality in the future, with 54% of donors who had anxiety at baseline indicating they would use it again in the pilot research.

A notable development in blood donation is the use of MR, particularly when it comes to recruiting prospective donors. As a co-author of the study and senior vice president at Blood Centers of America, Jennifer Kapral said that by rendering the donation procedure less daunting and more interesting, this innovation may significantly contribute to an increase in the blood supply. Mixed reality has the potential to attract a younger demographic of donors and increase their frequency of donating while also improving the donation procedure. It may make a big impact to encourage more people to donate and to make it more pleasurable for them to do so.

Part of Abbott and BCA’s larger, continuous initiative to inspire youth blood donation, encourage first-time donors, and develop a new generation to support the country’s blood supply is mixed reality. Together, the initiatives contributed to an 11% rise in contributions among 16 to 24 year olds in 2023.

In February and March of 2023, the pilot project was carried out at locations run by Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in Houston and Impact Life in Davenport, Iowa. The study was done and written by researchers connected to the Stanford Blood Center, Johns Hopkins University, Texas Medical School, Abbott, Blood Centers of America, Impact Life, and the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.

Go to to learn more about donation venues that provide mixed reality.

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