New kidney and pancreas allocation system will increase equity
It’s just one example of how data-driven policy development helps patients
A new way of allocating kidneys and pancreata that rolled out this week is a big step for transplant patients across the nation. It means that candidates on the waiting list will have more equitable opportunities to receive a transplant no matter where they live or are listed for a transplant, ensuring the right organ gets to the right patient at the right time based on medical need rather than geography.
“Leaving behind this arbitrary system ... puts patients first.”
Brian Shepard, CEO
Implementation of the new circle-based policies completes the removal of the old system of organ allocation, which used 58 donation service areas of widely varying geographic size as units of distribution. Drawn for administrative reasons, these boundaries were not designed to optimize organ sharing for the sickest patients. Leaving behind this arbitrary system establishes a consistent measure of distance between the donor hospital and the transplant hospital—and most importantly, puts patients first.
Through a nearly three-year evidence-based policy development process, the organ donation and transplant community came together to improve the way we serve people waiting for kidney and pancreas transplants.
It took a tremendous collaborative effort across the transplant system to make this change happen. The policies were developed with input from thousands of organ donation and transplant experts, organ recipients, and donor families from around the country during three public comment cycles.
Throughout this process, we were laser-focused on increasing equity in kidney and pancreas transplant. A simulation of how the policy will play out in practice projects that it will improve transplant access for key groups of transplant candidates, including children, women, ethnic minorities and candidates who are particularly hard to match for biological reasons.
The organ donation and transplant system in the U.S. has never worked better than it does today, but we won’t ever stop improving the way we allocate organs as long as there are patients in need. We know that continued collaboration and improvement will lead to thousands more transplants being performed.
At UNOS we’re committed to serving all patients waiting for organ transplant, and we’re incredibly grateful to be part of a community that works every day to save more lives.
Learn more about how the policy benefits patients.