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A faster match for transplants

Through the use of software from IBM, the National Marrow Donor Program wants to speed the time it takes to match donor information with bone marrow transplant patients.

The solution, which incorporates advanced analytics, will streamline the record matching process by automatically comparing millions of data records nationwide, according to a press release from IBM. Those records include donor information, geographic location and patient recipient data. The goal is to significantly shorten the wait for bone marrow transplants, which currently averages 96 days.

The NMDP estimates that as many as 10,000 people could benefit from a transplant each year in the United States, but only four in 10 patients receive the bone marrow they need to survive, due to various factors including wait time. Dr. Jeffrey W. Chell, CEO of the National Marrow Donor Program, says, “Many of these patients need a transplant quickly to treat their life-threatening disease. We expect this new system will significantly reduce the time to transplant. This will help more patients get the transplant they need, when they need it.”

The NMDP operates a registry of more than 8 million potential donors and more than 160,000 cord blood units, Through cooperative relationships with international registries, the organization provides access to about 14 million potential donors worldwide.

IBM provided the NMDP with its WebSphere Lombardi software, which can track donors, patients and locations simultaneously on one dashboard, making it easier to facilitate a match. The solution gives organizations the ability to quickly adjust their business processes to support changing needs—especially those that rely heavily on collaboration to complete a task. As a result, the NMDP can automate its screening processes, eliminating complicated and time-consuming technical intervention, and allowing staff to focus on records that meet the matching criteria, according to IBM.

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