The UNOS Board of Directors’ newly formed Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) advised the Board, at its meeting November 12 and 13, that substantial additional resources are needed to assure the operation of the organization’s technology infrastructure. The ITAC includes three Board members (two surgeons and a recipient) and three outside experts – two transplant hospital CIOs and a private-sector IT entrepreneur.
Robert Merion, M.D., chair of the ITAC, reported to the Board on the ITAC’s initial assessment of UNOS’s technology capabilities. “The IT experts on our group were astonished at the mismatch between the level of work that needs to be done and the available resources,” Merion said. “They thought it was an enormous mismatch.”
UNOS continues work on a multi-year upgrade of core IT infrastructure to speed implementation of OPTN policies and bylaws and retain currency with new hardware and software capabilities. UNOS recently revised its work plan to allow simultaneous implementation of some policies that had been put on hold until the completion of the upgrade. However, ITAC reported to the Board that without the infusion of significant new resources, the current backlog of work would take approximately four years to complete, independent of any new work approved by the Board.
The Board agreed that funding and prioritization of IT projects is of critical concern. The ITAC and UNOS staff will continue to identify ways to improve current workflow and project planning as well as detailed needs for resources to speed up implementation of policies and bylaws as well as needed upgrades to core IT infrastructure. At ITAC’s recommendation, the Board will also actively review IT projects and provide guidance on prioritization of work in the queue.
Additional information will be shared with members as the Board continues its consideration of these mission-critical needs.