Learning from the crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic shaped myriad aspects of 2021, as it had in 2020. An analysis of the knowledge gained in 2020 led to the introduction of changes in both the blood and the blood stem cell fields. The focus in this respect was always on donor and patient safety and the mission of ensuring the continuous availability of blood products.

Swiss Transfusion SRC is an autonomous organisation within the Swiss Red Cross, structured as a non-profit-making company limited by shares (gemeinnützige Aktiengesellschaft). The majority of its shares are owned by the SRC; the eleven regional blood transfusion services hold the remaining shares. Swiss Transfusion SRC is – together with the regional blood transfusion services – responsible for managing the blood supply on behalf of the SRC and holds a mandate from the Swiss Government to manage the registry of blood stem cell donors. No funding is provided for expanding the registry, however. Swiss Transfusion SRC has to rely on monetary donations to meet those costs.

Expansion of digital services

During the coronavirus pandemic, it became clear that digital processes are a key factor for success in preventing shortfalls in the blood supply. An electronic vaccine check tool was introduced in 2021 to supplement the existing travel check and appointment booking tools, as the public was unsure whether people recently vaccinated against Covid-19 could donate blood. The online vaccine-check and travel-check tools make it easy for would-be donors to find out how soon they can donate after being vaccinated or returning from travel abroad.

The digitalisation of the processes in the blood stem cell division moved forward as well. In the future, people registering as donors will be guided through the process by e-mails and those who have completed this process will regularly receive newsletters on blood stem cell donation topics. New instruments for getting in touch with potential donors have been added and the introduction of an online form has standardised the follow-up procedure. This allows better management and testing of processes and a more rapid introduction of adjustments to processes. Analyses can be performed more easily and quickly, contributing to the achievement of the targets defined in the 19+ recruitment strategy.

Internationally, the only country registries that were not forced to interrupt recruitment activity during the past two years and were also able to guarantee the transport of donors to patients were those whose digitalisation processes were well advanced.

“Fit for the future”

The ongoing review process has resulted in the launch of a new project for the blood stem cell division. The goal of the “Auxin” project is a process that is optimised for donors and patients and that also enables all staff to perform their work efficiently through system-supported procedures. An analysis of the existing process and the conceptual design of the new process were completed in 2021.


Media presence intensified

A new media communications format was launched in 2021 to better position Swiss Transfusion SRC and as a way of more actively highlighting its leadership role relating to blood donation and blood stem cell donation in the media: in Lab Talks (Laborgespräche), experts present a current topic relating to Swiss Transfusion SRC and take questions from an invited audience of media professionals. The first event was held in autumn of 2021 at the Zurich Blood Transfusion Service; its topic was blood safety, and it included a tour of the production and laboratory areas.

Swiss Transfusion SRC management

The management team welcomed a new member in 2021. Rahel Vaterlaus replaced Bruno Pfister, who had left Swiss Transfusion SRC.

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“Optimised and transparent processes are the key to ensuring that every patient receives the right donation at the right time – both in good times and in times of crisis. Our ongoing dialogue with employees and our national and international partner organisations motivates us to keep working together towards this goal with open-minds and a long-term perspective, and to look to the future with optimism.”

From left: Felix Bussmann, Anita Tschaggelar, Bernhard Wegmüller, Franziska Kellenberger, Rahel Vaterlaus, Oliver Kürsteiner, Soraya Amar, Grazia Nicoloso de Faveri

Swiss Transfusion SRC Board of Directors

The board announced a change in membership in 2021. Otto Bitterli joined the board, replacing Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Zollinger, deceased.

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