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Swab, Spit & Share

Dentists could register their patients to become bone marrow donors during appointments. Many people may fear sitting in the dentist's chair, but they could feel better if they felt they were helping others.

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14 31

Written by DeletedUser

During a dental appointment, patients could not only learn about bone marrow donation, but also register to become a donor. Dentists could swab each patient who registers right before they begin cleaning or other dental work. During the appointment itself, dentists can share key talking points about the relative ease and minimal discomfort of bone marrow donation. Dentists could also distribute postage-paid kits to give to friends, roommates, and family members to register. Dental practices could mail in their cheek swabs consistently to a centralized clearinghouse.

Many dentists serve as hubs for their communities, and develop long-term relationships with their patients. Local dental practices could receive regional newsletters/posters sharing stories of lives that have been saved in their communities.

To create this campaign, funders need be identified. Initially, it would make sense to approach companies that are already in dentists' offices. Companies that give toothbrushes, toothpaste or other samples could sponsor this campaign, connecting healthy smiles with healthy communities. If future bone marrow recipients agreed to share their images, the sponsor could use their photo on packaging. In addition to any sales impact, it would demonstrate the value of local donor registration to consumers.

Before kicking off the campaign, next steps would be to:
- Identify costs to design and distribute materials (including posters, branded swab kits and brochures)
- Identify on-going operational costs (such as postage, creating regional content, swab kits, education for dentists)
- Quantify the potential market value and views for all collateral
- Develop frames for the campaign that appeal to patients, dentists and potential sponsors.

Which barrier(s) does your concept address?

  • Fear
  • Misunderstanding
  • Time
  • Feeling rushed

Which step(s) of the journey does your concept apply to?

  • Awareness
  • Registration
  • Spread the word

Evaluation results

10 evaluations so far

1. How easy is this concept to implement?

I could start right now. - 10%

This might take a bit of planning and probably some help from several partners. - 90%

This is a big undertaking and I'd need a lot of help from friends, organizations and other groups to make it happen. - 0%

2. Will this concept successfully reach and encourage under-represented populations (including South Asians) to join the bone marrow registry?

Yes, this concept will resonate with diverse groups of people from all over the world. - 30%

No, this concept might not reach under-represented populations very well. - 20%

I'm not sure, but I hope so! - 50%

3. How well does this concept dispel myths, ease fears, or provide education about bone marrow registration and donation?

Really well -- I already feel like I have a better understanding of the process and why it's important. - 0%

Okay, though it'll still take some explaining to get people to understand how bone marrow registration and donation work. - 80%

Not very well -- we'd have to create a highly detailed plan around this concept to help people understand. - 20%

4. How scalable is this concept?

This concept is highly scalable and could easily impact people all over the world. - 20%

This concept is really best suited for small groups and local areas. - 60%

This concept could be scaled, but we'd have to refine it for different settings. - 20%


Join the conversation:

Photo of DeletedUser


Love this idea, Jennifer S.

Rather than a monetary reward for participation, what about social recognition? Perhaps in the waiting room, have an "I got swabbed" thank you board that includes pictures of all the potential donors (digital or Polaroids taken on site), along with some educational materials. If any of these folks become actual donors, create a special "we love our donor" display highlighting that person (including pics and a personal story if possible). This could help overcome the fear barrier - wow, my neighbors are doing this - and is surely a more interesting use of their time than reading People magazine. Several banks in my neighborhood have boards where they take/post pictures of all the dogs that come into the bank - it is surprising just how much traffic/attention those displays receive.

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One other thought - to get the ball rolling, the first pictures up could be of the dentist and all of his/her staff.

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Debbie, that's a great idea! It's very practical to implement, and creates positive reinforcement to register. If patients see that it's something many people are doing, they will be more likely to participate. When I asked the teller at the local DMV how many people she had registered to become organ donors, she said had no idea, and that she hadn’t thought about it before.

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