Researchers Identify Critical Need for Standardized Organ Donation Metrics

PENN MEDICINE NEWS

Penn-led study pinpoints areas of improvement for organ procurement organizations, could lead to more lifesaving transplants

PHILADELPHIA — Across the country, there are 58 Organ Procurement Organizations (OPO), which are responsible for recovering and distributing organs and tissues for life-saving and life-enhancing transplants. Each OPO is designated to serve a specific geographic area and works with the transplant centers in their area to match donors with recipients. With more than 117,000 people awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant, these OPOs work very hard to identify as many organ donors as possible to help save these lives. But according to a study published today in the American Journal of Transplantation, there seem to be significant differences in the results of these efforts.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in partnership with ORGANIZE—a non-for-profit organization based in New York which leverages health data to end the organ donor shortage by applying smarter technologies, utilizing social media, building more creative partnerships, and advocating for data-driven policies—The Bridgespan Group—a global nonprofit organization that collaborates with mission-driven leaders, organizations, and philanthropists to break cycles of poverty and dramatically improve the quality of life for those in need—and Gift of Life Donor Program—an OPO which serves the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware—evaluated the metrics and criteria used to measure OPOs across the country, and found significant discrepancies in how potential donors are evaluated and identified.

Our data demonstrates that thousands of people eligible to become a deceased-organ donor every year never realize that opportunity, and current measures of OPO performance fail to capture these lost opportunities,” said lead author, David S. Goldberg, MD, MSCE, an assistant professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Penn. Continue reading 

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