Young entrepreneurs create AI-enabled platform to find plasma donors

It matches patients with donors based on pre-defined criteria and then they can contact each other

Blood transfusion
Dhoondh has helped several people find plasma donors for their close ones suffering from COVID-19 | Representative Photo: iStock

Two young entrepreneurs have started an innovative artificial intelligence-enabled platform, dhoondh.com, to facilitate the search for blood plasma donors in the country, to meet the requirements for the plasma therapy that COVID-19 patients are undergoing to build immunity against the virus.

The website uses AI to create patient-donor matches based on different medical conditions, said Adwitiya Mal, founder of Dhoondh, who was helped by his London-based tech entrepreneur friend, Mukul Pahwa, on the technological front.

So far, the website has garnered around 2,000 registrations while helping patients and donors in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad.

“Someone in my own family had contracted the virus, and I faced a lot of trouble finding a plasma donor. That is when my wife and I decided to create this website,” Mal said.

He along with his friend Pahwa, who is associated with a financial services company in the UK, started working on the website in early June. Pahwa created the website and the AI software that helps create patient-donor matches.

Dhoondh has helped several people find plasma donors for their close ones suffering from the viral infection. Manmeet Kaur from Delhi is one of them.

“For us, the situation was very chaotic. We didn’t know whom to ask for help. It was very difficult to even find recovered patents, let alone their willingness to donate blood plasma. But Dhoondh came to our rescue,” Kaur recalled her experience while speaking to The Federal.

Related news: Plasma therapy for COVID-19 effective, donors still sceptical

She registered the patient with the website and within three days, she received the contact of a donor. The 64-year-old patient has received plasma and is now undergoing treatment.

“I would want to encourage more people to come out and donate blood plasma for a cause. Thirty minutes of yours can give a life of 30 years to someone,” Kaur appealed.

“We have used the AI to build a back-end for the intelligent matching,” Pahwa said as he explained the technical part and the integration of AI technology to minimise manual work.

“There are some basic rules defined in AI. I have created some filters like location (city), blood group, age, existing health conditions, distance, etc., based on which the donor-patient match is created. Once a new person enters his personal information, the AI starts running the check and the match is found from the existing database of the donors,” he said.

The site matches patients with donors based on the pre-defined criteria and then they can contact each other. “Our role ends here,” said Pahwa.

Asked about the data security aspect of the website, Mal said, “We take a consent form at the time of registration, according to which we are allowed to use their contact information only for the patient-donor matching purpose. We do not share any data with the third party or use it otherwise.”

Related news: COVID-19: States push for plasma therapy as tally crosses 5.5 lakh

The database of the website is stored in India with Amazon servers which are considered to be one of the most secure storage spaces in the world, Mal said. He informed that Dhoondh does not collect personal information, like date of birth, address, or Aadhaar number. Only the name and contact number is registered to help people connect without any hassle.

“One of the amazing things we learned is that every patient recovered with help from our database becomes a potential donor in the next few days. So we are working on a thing where we will maintain the database of recovered patients and ask them to sign up for the donation. This way, within the next three weeks we will be able to have as much as donors as the patients,” said an excited Pahwa.

Around 18-20 volunteers are working across cities to create awareness and spread the word through social media. They also help people connect with each other via phone calls. The website verifies those who have registered and then only their names are added to the database, to ease the process and avoid any fraudulent activity on the platform.

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