There’s still time for transplant administrators to participate:
Deadline is May 31
“Plain and simple, the staffing survey is the only consistent benchmarking tool for transplant programs that currently exists.”
Angie Kourson, Executive Director, Advanced Organ Management Services and longtime member of the OPTN Transplant Administrators Committee (TAC)
Before the survey was first developed and offered in 2003, “Everyone was clamoring for a tool they could use to plan their hiring strategy and help them fight for allocation of resources,” said Korsun.“And committee meetings weren’t the only place this topic came up. Even now this subject regularly pops up on our Transplant Administrators listserv [see below for more information about how to join]. Someone is always asking, ‘I have a heart program and we do X number of transplants a year. How many coordinators do you have? How many physicians? How many secretaries?’ These are questions everyone has. But for a long time [we] had no comparative data.”
Accessible from the Transplant Administrators’ section of UNet, the survey—which was created by the TAC along with UNOS research and IT staff—allows users to contribute program-specific demographic information, including the number of patient referrals and clinic visits. It also collects personnel information like the number of full time clinical coordinators and other staff positions and the ratio of full-time employees to the number of transplants.
After contributing this information, administrators can view and analyze their own data, and can aggregate data of similar-sized programs, not only in their region but across the country.
Why should administrators use this tool?
”It’s not perfect and the committee workgroup is always looking for ways to improve it,” explained Korsun, ”but right now it gives us access to a consistent dataset that any of us can use. If you’ve been submitting data since the beginning, like I have, you have nearly 20 years of data you can review and ask yourself, ‘Where is my program in terms of staffing now? Where is it going? Where should it be?”
Among its other benefits, the tool also provides an avenue for transplant administrators to connect with each other and start conversations. Survey results may show that one program has more coordinators but others have more medical assistants, or that a lung program has five nurses and a similarly-sized one has 10. By reaching out to colleagues, administrators can find out what types of activities these roles perform and other clarifying information. To view summary and comparison data for other programs, administrators must first share their own data–the more transplant programs of varying size from across the country that submit data, the richer the dataset, and the more meaningful the analysis.
Submit your staffing data by May 31.
Preparing for your survey—Angie’s tips
UNOS always posts a system notice at least 30 days before the survey is available, typically in February each year. That notice let you know exactly what data elements you’ll need to collect.
Questions to ask yourself before you begin:
- What information do I have readily available (either off the top of my head or easily accessible)?
- For information that is not so easily accessible, what do I need and where can I get it from? Make lists.
- Does the information need to be manually pulled from different data repositories? Is a report available? Do I need to request information from our IT staff (this requires advance planning because sometimes IT needs 1-2 weeks to turn around data requests)?
- What types of information do I need from each program (if you manage more than one transplant program)? And who do I need it from?
- Once you have all the information assembled and in front of you, just begin entering the data. This part is easy since the tool is intuitive and user friendly. But if you do have trouble, just contact UNOS Customer Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay connected to your fellow administrators
Members of the Transplant Administrators Listserv are transplant administrators and managers just like you. This helpful and active tool allows you send one email to everyone subscribed to the list. Whether you’re a brand new manager seeking advice, or a veteran administrator who wants to share a best practice or vent about a problem, this listserv allows you to send one email to multiple people with the same professional interests as you.