Areas of Focus
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the leading international association for professionals in operations research and analytics, has selected a team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology in partnership with the American Red Cross as one of the six finalists for the 46th annual Franz Edelman Award for Achievements in Operations Research and Management Science. The Edelman Award is the world’s most prestigious recognition for excellence in developing and applying advanced analytical methods to help organizations solve complex problems or create new opportunities that result in highly impactful outcomes for the economy and society.
The Red Cross partnered with a team from Georgia Tech’s Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE), which includes George Family Foundation Assistant Professor Turgay Ayer, Schneider National Chair in Transportation and Logistics Chelsea White III, Professor Roshan Vengazhiyil, and ISyE Ph.D. student Can Zhang, on their project "American Red Cross Uses Analytics-based Methods to Improve Blood Collection Operations." They have proposed and analyzed an alternate blood collection model to increase the amount of whole blood that can be processed into a critical blood product, cryoprecipitate (cryo), while reducing per unit collection costs. Cryo plays a critical role in clotting and controlling massive hemorrhaging, and is often used in the treatment of massive trauma and many major diseases, including metastasized cancers, cardiac diseases, hepatic failures, and organ transplants. After reviewing blood collecting and processing schedules, collection locations, historical yields rates, and donor-related factors, the researchers developed an advanced analytics-based approach that allowed them to study the potential benefit of the proposed alternate collection model.
The promising findings from this analysis later led to a decision support tool (DST) implemented by the Red Cross Southern Region, which serves more than 120 hospitals in the Southern U.S. The implementation of the DST resulted in a significant increase in the number of whole blood units satisfying the tight collection-to-process completion time constraint for cryo production. In particular, during the fourth quarter of 2016, the Red Cross Southern Region was able to process approximately 1000 more units of cryo per month (an increase of 20 percent) at a slightly lower collection cost, resulting in a 40 percent reduction in the per unit collection cost for cryo. This DST has recently been presented to the executives at the national level of the Red Cross, and plans are in place to extend the implementation of the DST to the 11 other American Red Cross regions in the future.
The Edelman Award recognizes excellence in applying advanced operations research and analytics to transform business and human lives. Edelman finalist teams have improved organizational efficiency, increased profits, brought better products to consumers, helped foster peace negotiations, and saved lives. To date, the finalists for the Edelman Award have contributed to a cumulative impact of over $240 billion.
The 2017 Edelman Award winner will be presented at the Edelman Gala on April 3, 2017, during the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research in Las Vegas.