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Exploring Racial Inequities Among Blood Donors: Quantifying Lives Saved, Donor Attrition, and Firm Revenue

Globally, racial minorities experience disproportionately worse healthcare outcomes, and these disparities are worsening. One key frontline healthcare procedure is blood donation, yet extant research has not explored how racial disparities during blood donation may affect key downstream outcomes, such as lives saved, donor attrition, and revenue. Partnering with a blood center, the authors use a mixed-methods design and adopt an empirics-first approach. They use a seven-year longitudinal census dataset of 15,895 blood donation visits to examine how donor race influences these downstream outcomes. The authors examine outcomes among five different racial groups and find that Black blood donors experience the worse outcomes, such as Black donors being more likely to be prevented from donating. Moreover, an extended Pareto/NBD model shows that deferrals increase the likelihood of attrition and that Black donors have higher attrition rates. The authors then establish blood donor value regarding lives saved and revenue by conducting a simulation across racial groups. Furthermore, manager interviews and two preregistered experiments show personalization can mitigate harmful outcomes, such that personalization reduces the impact of deferrals on returns and attrition. Ultimately, this research demonstrates how healthcare can be made more inclusive for racially minoritized patients, save more lives, and increase revenue.