Kenyan techies develop technology that matches patients’ blood groups for quick donations

Kenyan tech startup Scan Response is testing its latest application, Blood Match, an emergency medical personnel QR code for matching patients’ blood groups for quick donations and organ transplants.

The app’s developers say the Blood Match project ensures that every individual acquires either a card, wristband, necklace or watch labelled with a unique Quick Response (QR) code for quick, inexpensive and simple identification of an individual’s blood group by medical personnel.

CEO Dennis Riungu, Project Manager Allan Mukhwana, Technical Lead Timothy Wambua and Graphic Designer Chris Kivaze, all Computer Engineering Technology students at JKUAT University, founded Scan Response. They hope the Blood Match QR code will be given to individuals after a blood donation, regular check-up, treatment or even at birth. The QR code can also be obtained on request.

The team explained that in case of an accident, medical personnel can use smartphones to scan the victim’s code to identify the blood group and other basic identity information, which can then be used to establish a patient’s medical history.

The team says doctors spend too much time getting a victim’s blood group. It is worse when a specific blood group is not in the hospital’s blood bank, a situation which often results in the unfortunate deaths of accident victims

Mukhwana told HumanIPO that the firm plans to contract parties such as governments, health organisations and insurance companies to manage the Blood Match services for their members. There model is supported by the increasing availability of QR code enabled smartphones in the country, ranging from $50 to $100 in price.

On of the affordable smartphones, Huawei Ideos, sold over 200 pieces in Kenya in just a few months after they were launched and the scramble for the low-cost smartphone market is increasing in intensity.

Scan Response is now working on another (QR) quick response code, called Scan Response Estate QR Campaign. The Estate QR Campaign is yet to be launched, but will map large buildings such as a malls, shops and museums.

According to Mukhwana: ”When someones scans the QR at the entrance of the building, he is taken to an interactive cloud-based system where he can search for a specific shop and the system responds by giving him a feedback in form of a map and directions. Furthermore, the person is able to know whether that particular shop or office is opened or closed.”

They team explained to HumanIPO that they were inspired by the fact that QR codes can make the connection between offline and online worlds easier. “That’s why we created Blood Match.”

This is the first such project in Kenya, though it has been tried in other countries across the continent. In 2009, MCR GLOBAL Inc launched the first person-centred electronic personal health crisis record of its kind with the use of QR (quick review) technology for secure transmittal of one’s vital health data.

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