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30 OPOs participating in national project to increase procurement of DCD donors

30 OPOs participating in national project to increase procurement of DCD donors

More than half of the nation’s organ procurement organizations (OPOs) are taking part in the second phase of a UNOS-led DCD Procurement Collaborative project aimed at identifying and sharing effective practices related to procurement of organs from donation after circulatory death (DCD) donors. DCD describes the organ recovery process that may occur following death by irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions.

This second phase  involves 30 of the 57 OPOs serving the U.S. The participating organizations represent a range of OPOs both large and small, and serve different areas of the country with diverse populations, including rural and urban. What the OPOs have in common is a desire to increase transplants by improving processes related to the evaluation and recovery of organs from DCD donors. Seventy-five percent of all OPOs in the U.S. have participated in the first or second phase of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network project.

“The OPOs participating in this collaborative have the opportunity to learn from each other and hear how other OPOs combat similar challenges,” says Kate Breitbeil, UNOS performance improvement specialist. “I truly appreciate participants’ engagement and their willingness to share resources and help each other.”

DCD donor recoveries on the rise

The number of DCD donors recovered annually has risen steadily year-over-year for the past decade. OPO professionals recovered 4,187 DCD donors in 2021, an increase of 29.9 percent over 2020, itself a record-setting year for DCD donors that exceeded 2019’s numbers by more than 18 percent.

The DCD Procurement Collaborative is an opportunity for OPOs to continue building on these trends. The 26 OPOs who participated in phase one of the project aimed to increase DCD donor procurement by 20 percent, a goal they are set to surpass as data continues to be collected.

Majority of nation’s OPOs involved in project

Half of the OPOs participating in phase one are participating in phase two. The 13 returning organizations are joined by an additional 17 OPOs new to the initiative. Following the success and momentum of phase one, the goal of DCD donor procurement for phase two was increased. The 30 participating OPOs aim to increase their DCD donor recoveries during the six-month deployment period by 28 percent.

The 30 participating OPOs include:

  • Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency*
  • Donor Alliance*
  • Donor Network West*
  • Gift of Life Michigan
  • Honor Bridge* (formerly Carolina Donor Services)
  • Indiana Donor Network
  • Iowa Donor Network*
  • Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates
  • Legacy of Hope*
  • Legacy of Life Hawaii*
  • Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency
  • Lifebanc
  • LifeCenter Organ Donor Network
  • LifeGift Organ Donation Center*
  • LifeLink of Florida*
  • LifeNet Health
  • LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services
  • LifeShare Carolinas*
  • LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma*
  • Lifesharing-A Donate Life Organization
  • Live On NY
  • Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency
  • Mid-South Transplant Foundation
  • Nevada Donor Network*
  • New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network OPO
  • Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank
  • Southwest Transplant Alliance*
  • Texas Organ Sharing Alliance
  • Upstate New York Transplant Services Inc.
  • Washington Regional Transplant Community

*Returning participant

Teams will apply and test changes through April

Participating OPOs began work on their projects in November 2021. The collaborative project’s active phase continues through April 2022 and involves monthly collaborative calls and webinars. The OPO teams are taking a plan-do-study-act (PDSA) approach to apply and test changes. They have access to a private project platform with an improvement guide and resources, and also receive coaching from UNOS collaborative improvement team to help support them on their respective project work.

An evaluation period will follow and provide the opportunity to analyze the outcome and process measure data to determine the overall effectiveness of both phases of the project.

The OPTN brings collaborative improvement projects to the community

This DCD project is one of a number of collaborative improvement initiatives UNOS as the OPTN has undertaken in the past several years. A pediatric liver discovery project launched in 2020 and involved more than a dozen transplant hospitals. Past collaborative improvement projects also include the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network, which aimed to reduce risk-avoidance behaviors and increase transplantation of deceased donor kidneys with a kidney donor profile index greater than 50 percent.

For more information about collaborative improvement, contact ci@unos.org.

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