What does the New Zealand Blood Service do?
The New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) was created in 1998 to provide safe, appropriate and timely access to blood and tissue products and related services to meet New Zealanders’ health needs. NZBS is responsible for developing an integrated national blood transfusion process from the collection drives to the transfusion of blood products within a hospital environment: a “vein-to-vein” transfusion service.
For NZBS, our website provides important information to donors — current and potential — about eligibility criteria plus tools for determining eligibility, where to donate and an online appointment making tool. It also houses a vast amount of clinical information for health professionals regarding blood and blood products for transfusion.
What’s our goal?
Our goal is to ensure that blood and blood products are available at the right place, at the right time, for the right patient. To do this we need to make it easy for the public to find out how to become a blood donor, and to motivate and educate people about why donating blood is so important. Our website plays an important role in this by promoting our ‘Amazing Stories’ module to share life-saving stories to raise awareness and encourage regular donations. Amazing Stories can also be accessed from the NZBS Facebook page.
Why we use the Common Web Platform
When deciding on a new platform for our website, we had a number of considerations to weigh up including:
- compliance with the Government Web Standards
- capabilities of the content management system (CMS)
- security and back up of the site
- helpdesk support from the developer
- responsive design
- testing site availability
- cost to develop and maintain
- ability to future proof and add features as time went on.
With a small team of two internally managing the website on a day-to-day basis and working within a highly regulated environment, the functionality of the Government Common Web Platform, built by SilverStripe, was far superior to any we had used before. The ability to set publication dates, roll back to previous versions of a page, version control for documents placed on the website and a preview page function, all ticked many of the boxes we had.
Weighing up the costs and benefits, the CWP provided us with many advantages including the regular patching and software updates, a secure platform, and the opportunity to gain new features through the co-funded development pool.
What we built
With the ability to customise the layout for our needs, our website now includes features such as:
- a revolving carousel on the home page, where we can switch out images and links based on the current marketing campaign
- a news section that will automatically organise items by year and month
- two new tools to determine blood donor eligibility — a height and weight calculator and a travel tool
- a sign-up form that uploads a file into our customer relationship management system so we can call prospective donors
- Google maps for all Donor Centres and Blood Drives to help donors find our locations
- a responsive design that will auto adjust the website according to the device the user is on
- a much more superior search function.
What are some of the new features?
In May 2015 we launched an “Amazing Stories module”, where visitors can upload their own story about receiving blood to thank donors. This goes through a moderation process before being placed on the website (previously, this was done manually).
In June 2015 we launched a new “Sign up to become a blood donor” form as part of our World Blood Donor Day campaign, which includes a final landing page with an online video about a recipient who has received blood.
With consumer expectations on website functionality ever increasing, we are looking to make further improvements to the website to help meet our organisational goals, so the future is very exciting!