UNOS staff regularly collaborate with members and industry experts on projects to improve the transplant system and increase the number of transplants performed. In order to further such work, we created a virtual research center known as UNOS Labs.SM
UNOS LabsSM is an experimental incubator that brings together data, technology, and industry expertise.
We use UNOS LabsSM to find out if a transformational idea will work or a hypothesis on ways to improve the transplant is true. It is not an academic exercise or theoretical playground, but a place where we can test products, tools, and methods for insights to improve the system. A project or study must meet the following criteria to be a UNOS LabsSM study:
- Experimental – Needs scientific investigation to answer question or test validity
- Micro-oriented – Starts small with potential to scale to larger system
- High risk – Lacks sufficient data to know if it’s going to work or fail
- Data-driven – Relies on newly created data to inform decisions
- Collaborative – Relies on partnering with industry (transplant and/or non-transplant) experts
Pillars of UNOS Labs
UNOS Labs experiments and projects fall into three major areas.
We collaborate with industry leaders to deploy new tools and technologies to strengthen system performance. Examples of work include the development of system enhancements to improve decision making, as well as the creation of innovative tools, dashboards and calculators to increase organ utilization.
We partner with human behavior experts to study the impacts of human interactions on the system. For example, SimUNetSM is a simulated organ offer system that tests impact of system changes on organ acceptance behavior. We conducted four experiences on physician offer-acceptance behavior, involving more than 300 physicians and surgeons.
We test new algorithms, types of data, models, and advanced analytics to uncover actionable insights. This includes developing predictive analytics and using machine learning techniques such as natural language processing and speech recognition to uncover novel ways we can impact the transplant system to increase transplants and improve efficiency.
UNOS Principal Research Scientist Darren Stewart describes the start of UNOS Labs and talks about the first two experiments on physician offer-acceptance behavior.