Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

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GS1 Students

November 06, 2019

MSSM Students Win $10k for Blood Donation Solution

Blood donations save lives, but the process of collecting and delivering donations to patients presents critical challenges. At the GS1 US Trace-a-thon in San Francisco last month, Master of Science in Software Management students presented a solution to the blood donation problem by using supply chain traceability and emerging technologies.

MSSM students Anup Ahuje, Manish Varma Datla, Nursultan Dyussebayev, and Prabhu Saitu spent twenty-four hours competing among eighty other hackers to work on a supply chain solution. The eighteen teams were tasked with utilizing GS1 standards to solve a problem related to the supply chain domain, thinking outside the box of typical consumer products.

The team of MSSM students decided to solve for a problem in the healthcare space; when two team members recalled difficult experiences with blood donations, Team Bloodchain came to fruition. The team spent their time focused on the supply chain between donation and medical centers, donors, patients, and physicians, identifying the challenges in delivering the right types and quantities of blood to patients in dire need. 

“We wanted to utilize the amazing capabilities of blockchain technology and combine it with GS1 standards to streamline the process of blood donation and delivery,” shared Prabhu Saitu (MSSM ’19). Team Bloodchain applied the same tools they’ve been refining as students of software innovation at the Integrated Innovation Institute; they broke down the problem and brainstormed the idea, identified key stakeholders, developed personas and considered each persona’s perspective, and defined how each stakeholder would interact with the product. In addition, Team Bloodchain has had plenty of experience crafting pitches for courses and other campus events, so creating a presentation was another opportunity to flex their MSSM skills.

The teams were each judged on their ability to track items through supply chains as well as the interoperability between partner systems. Team Bloodchain was awarded first place for their “creativity, potential to be disruptive, use of GS1 Standards in the technology and overall presentation,” according to the panel of judges.

The GS1 US Trace-a-thon was an application of the Software Management curriculum and a new way to engage with the Silicon Valley innovation community. For Team Bloodchain, it was also an opportunity to explore potential opportunities within the healthcare space. 

“When we pitched the idea to the sponsors and mentors of the event, we realized how ripe healthcare is for disruption. There are innumerable areas in healthcare where modern technologies can be used to improve the lives of people,” says Saitu, before adding: “We would like to encourage everyone in the CMU community to go out and donate blood as often as possible and help those in need!”

Read to learn more about the GS1 US Trace-a-thon.