Anthony Nolan is one of the world’s leading blood cancer charities. It operates a stem cell register with over 850,000 donors in the UK and has access to over 40 million donors worldwide. The charity’s mission is to save the lives of patients with blood cancer in the UK and around the world, provide information and services, and carry out cutting-edge research.
At Formus Pro, one of our specialties is the charity and not-for-profit sector and we have worked in partnership with Anthony Nolan for a number of years and played a key role in the transition of their internal systems to the cloud.
As part of its donation programme, Anthony Nolan asks mothers-to-be to consider donating their umbilical cords. Relatively recently, in the late 1980s, scientists discovered that cord blood had similar attributes to bone marrow and was a plentiful source of stem cells which could be used to save lives. Prior to that, cords were not regarded as having any value and were simply disposed of once the baby was delivered.
One of the big advantages of cord blood stem cells is that they are more adaptable than adult stem cells and therefore don’t have to be as perfectly matched to a patient. This is good news for patients with uncommon tissue types and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, for whom it can be difficult to find a match.
Consent and Risk Assessment
A key stage in the process of arranging umbilical cord donation is gaining consent and medical information from the mother-to-be so a risk assessment can be carried out. Anthony Nolan always keeps the mother’s name confidential to protect her and her family’s privacy. The donated cord blood is identified only by a number, and names of donors are never shared with any patient or transplant centre.
To improve the consent process, we have developed an online questionnaire for Anthony Nolan which donors complete before they go into hospital. This allows donors to provide the required detailed information in the comfort of their own homes and at a convenient time for them. More importantly, it significantly reduces the amount of paperwork required at the hospital at a time when filling in forms and answering questions is not - to put it mildly - a priority for the mother-to-be.
By using the app, which makes it easier for donors to supply medical information and consent, Anthony Nolan hopes to encourage even more mothers to donate their cords and help save even more lives.
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