The fourth symposium from Hamro LifeBank was successfully held on September 29, 2021. The symposium was entitled "Blood data management and its security in the blood banking sector." The main objective of this symposium was to bring in experts from the health and digital world for healthy conversations on how we can learn from each other and glean important information by sharing existing global and local informatics practices. Here, experts  shared the importance of data security, how it can be done and what is its present situation in the context of Nepal. Likewise, they also focused on how the security and privacy of the users’ data are important to make the blood banking sector more efficient and transparent to improve the users’ experiences. The panelists for the symposium were Mr. Santosh Shrestha (Group CEO of Ruman Group of Companies.), and Dr. Santosh Sapkota ( Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix, Arizona USA). 

Ms. Nishu Bade Shrestha, Business Developer of Rumsan Group of Companies, the moderator for the symposium, started by welcoming and introducing the panelists as she gave a short description of the theme of the symposium. 

We had a thematic speaker Mr. Santosh Shrestha, who shared his experience and overview of data privacy and security along with the problems and challenges associated with blood data management in Nepal. Furthermore, he added, the most significant barrier to data security is our own ignorance, which has raised the risk of data leakage as we disclose our personal information on various social media platforms. He also stated that data must be safeguarded all the time. So, protecting our personal data, as well as that of other individuals, is a must-have practice in order to keep particular information secure and confidential as it ensures the data's integrity. 

In the panel discussion, the moderator put forward her questions to the panelist. Mr. Shrestha and Dr. Sapkota shared their experiences and learnings on the importance of  data privacy and security. They said that security of data isn’t only important in the blood banking sector but also in other different sectors. Along with that, Mr. Shrestha talked about the importance of strategies to carry out the activities at blood banks as well as the other different public and private firms to protect the data of the individuals. Likewise, Dr. Sapkota talked about the importance of a data-driven approach and how ethics of the employees as well as the different stakeholders matters to safeguard all the information of the blood donors, receiver, and blood bank system as a whole. He also mentioned that ample training should be provided to the  people to adapt with the new  technology. As per him- “the people, process and technology should be integrated to make the blood data management system more effective and efficient.”

Similarly, the panelists agreed that the government should take the lead in encouraging the commercial and public sectors to secure all user information and only take the data that is absolutely necessary for their business. Furthermore, the government should clearly define the policies and place a greater emphasis on the relevance of health-related personal information, which is crucial for patients and their families. Moreover, different businesses should solicit feedback and consent from their customers before sending their data to third parties. Similarly, they believe that both corporations and government authorities should focus on ethical practices carried out in their firm as it plays an essential part in securing users' data. 

The symposium was followed by a Q & A session where the panelists answered the questions from participants. The symposium has raised awareness among the target audience of blood banks, hospitals, volunteer organizations, blood donors, and the blood receivers about the importance of Blood data management and its security in the blood banking sector.

You can watch the full session recording of Blood data management and its security in the blood banking sector here