Have you ever wondered what happens to the completed forms and buccal (cheek) swabs collected at BMDP recruitment drives and roadshows? Do we play pick-up sticks or fold paper cranes with them? No! They fall into the hands of our amazing CHECK-TEAM – a proud mother (Marsita), a gym enthusiast (Mira) and a foodie (Eva).
We are not suggesting for you to check them out (though no laws against that), but because their job is all about checking, checking and more checking. So much so that they developed that a keen eye for spotting errors.
From left to right: Mira, Marsita, Eva
When not mothering, gym-ing or cooking, they ensure the timely and accurate updating of the BMDP register working in a production line to first process the completed forms by checking and keying the information into the system. The swabs are barcoded, checked and then shipped to the United States (US) in batches of four hundred for lab testing, without the forms to ensure confidentiality. Once the data comes back from the lab, approximately 4-6 weeks later, the team will then check and enter the lab results into the system, using the barcodes as unique identifiers. You will then receive a welcome email from us, thanking you for joining BMDP as a volunteer bone marrow donor.
Sounds tedious? All these processes and checks ensure accuracy as well as confidentiality (personal data protection) of our donors. Now you understand why it takes a while before a person can be added the registry as a volunteer bone marrow donor.
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The team processed a total of approximately 34,000 forms and swabs since the start of our recruitment campaigns two years ago – Project Tomorrow and Match for Life. That’s more than 1,000 forms and swabs to process per month!!! Adding to the pressure, they cannot afford any mistakes as it will affect the operational processes downstream for the Search and Selection Team and Donor Centre.
Disclaimer: No consent forms were harmed during the photoshoot
“The team can build up so much momentum processing the forms and swabs that we have an amazing adrenaline rush going!” Mira said, but further added that “the momentum can be frequently broken with erroneous forms…”.
Unfortunately, many forms arrive with errors and missing data and quite often the team get an earful when clarifying information with potential donors over the phone. As much as it pains the team to reject any potential volunteer donors, erroneous or incomplete forms that are not rectified must be rejected. With the challenging odds, 1 in 20,000, of finding a match, every rejection means another potential match lost for patients needing a bone marrow transplant.
“It is all about the teamwork, when there is an error, it is not one person’s responsibility, but the team’s, because we have each other’s back” Eva said.
The trust is undeniable from the looks on the faces
Kudos to the team for their efforts and endurance! Please help make their work easier by encouraging people to not just sign up to be a volunteer donor, but to fill up the complete form as accurately as possible (before being distracted by the gorgeous ladies)!