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Smithfield Foods Donation Helps Fund the Development of Life-saving Technology

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) has received a 75,000 challenge grant from The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods, Inc., to fund a proof of concept phase for UNOS’ Timely Donor Referralsm technology pilot. Smithfield will match dollar-for-dollar all donations made to UNOS for the program, up to $75,000.

UNOS serves as the nation’s organ transplant system, matching donated organs with the more than 100,000 men, women, and children awaiting lifesaving organ transplants. UNOS members encompass every transplant hospital, tissue-matching laboratory, and organ procurement organization in the United States, as well as voluntary health and professional societies, ethicists, transplant patients, and organ donor advocates.

The Timely Donor Referralsm technology project’s goal is to change the inefficient manual processes utilized by hospital staff in the nation’s 5,500 donor hospitals when notifying of a potential organ donor. Automated technology will more quickly, securely, and reliably exchange highly time-sensitive information between the donor hospital and one of the nation’s 58 Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs). The dynamic outcome of this project could exponentially increase the number of lifesaving organs available for transplantation.

“We’re tremendously grateful to Smithfield and all of our Timely Donor Referralsm project donors for helping us to realize our goal of easing access to critical transplant information,” said Brian Shepard, chief executive officer of UNOS. “Once developed, this technology will mean more organs recovered and transplanted, higher data quality and information security, and time and dollars saved. Ultimately, it will mean more lives saved.”

The Timely Donor Referralsm pilot project will build technology to integrate with the varied electronic medical record (EMR) systems used by the nation’s health systems. Over the next several months, UNOS will form a collaborative team of OPOs, hospitals, and EMR vendors. During the proof of concept phase they will identify, develop, and test solutions, as well as analyze the cost benefits and expense for a national implementation of this solution.

“Smithfield is proud to support UNOS and believes its mission to advance organ availability and transplantation is incredibly important to the improvement of public health,” said Keira Lombardo, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Smithfield Foods and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “We look forward to seeing the life-saving benefits of this platform and commend UNOS on its innovative approach to advancing technology in health care.”

The Smithfield Foundation’s challenge grant provides an exciting opportunity for UNOS to obtain the needed funding to develop this technology. Individuals, corporations, and foundations interested in making a philanthropic investment in this project can contact UNOS or make a gift online. These gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Smithfield Foundation, up to $75,000.

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