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OPTN/UNOS board approves assessment of organ procurement organization performance, new living donor data requirements

OPTN/UNOS board approves assessment of organ procurement organization performance, new living donor data requirements

The OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors, at its semi-annual meeting June 28, approved an addition to the OPTN bylaws to promote organ procurement organization (OPO) performance improvement by identifying and analyzing key measures.  The OPTN will use a statistical model developed by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients that compares, for each OPO, the number of actual organs transplanted per donor to a statistically expected rate appropriate for their area.

“These metrics will allow the OPTN to assess OPO performance in a meaningful context, based on the distinct population each one serves,” said OPTN/UNOS president Charles Alexander, RN, M.S.N., M.B.A.    “We believe this will help us identify opportunities for OPOs to improve wherever possible and optimize the number of organs recovered and transplanted.”

The statistical model for OPO monitoring will be “risk-adjusted.”  This means the statistical expectations will be calculated according to the specific characteristics of the donors in the OPO’s donation service area compared to similar donor characteristics nationwide.  The number of organs transplanted per donor will be compared to an expected number, adjusting for the donor characteristics at each OPO.  OPOs with actual results significantly below expected results may undergo additional medical peer review to identify areas for potential improvement.  The OPTN has used similar risk-adjusted outcome measures for nearly 20 years to assess transplant program performance.

Additionally, the Board adopted OPTN bylaw and policy amendments to enhance reporting of living donor follow-up data on the medical and psychosocial status of living donors.  Under the new requirements, the transplant center performing the living donor organ recovery will be responsible for reporting this information.  While the same hospital often performs both the donor and recipient surgery, there are times when the organ is recovered at one facility and transported to a different transplant hospital.  This could involve paired donation transplants or transplants where the living donor is an adult and the recipient is a child.

As soon as it is available, an executive summary of all Board meeting actions will be posted to the OPTN web site at  The site also contains summaries of proceedings from past OPTN/UNOS Board meetings.

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) is operated under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The OPTN brings together medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop organ transplantation policy.

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