At the White House Organ Summit this morning, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) CEO Brian Shepard and Chief Medical Officer David Klassen, M.D. announced new technology and data tools to increase the number of transplants done in the United States.
UNOS serves as the nation’s transplant system – known as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network or OPTN — under contract with the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The initiatives will use data and applications from UNet, a network of technology applications used by all transplant centers, organ procurement organizations (OPOs), and transplant histocompatibility labs nationwide to facilitate the transplant process.
By the end of 2016, UNOS will:
- Complete TransNet – an innovative technology platform that helps ensure that donated organs are matched correctly and efficiently with the identified recipient. Organ procurement staff use TransNet in the operating room to accurately label, package and track organs and other biologic material being shipped for transplantation. Forty-six of the 58 organ procurement organizations in the United States have been trained on TransNet so far. Its use will be required by all OPOs beginning June 1, 2017. In addition, UNOS has built and is pilot testing TransNet functions for transplant hospitals to expedite check-in and confirmation of blood type for organs they receive.
- Implement electronic data exchange capabilities to expedite delivery of critical and time sensitive information between OPOs, transplant centers, histocompatibility labs and UNOS. This interconnectivity can remove barriers that cause delays in procuring organs for patients. Implementation of this data exchange will dramatically reduce hospital data burden (manual entry of information) and improve data quality. Reducing the cost of collecting data will make it possible to build a more comprehensive database, creating future opportunities for research and innovation. UNOS is building interfaces (commonly known as APIs) to connect with OPO systems in 2016 and will soon develop interfaces to work with transplant hospital electronic medical records (EMRs).
- Start a pilot project for transplant centers to develop donor profiles for their candidates. Donor profiles would allow transplant programs to specify more precisely the donor characteristics they will accept for a candidate. This is expected to increase the number of transplants by reducing unwanted organ offers and getting organs to suitable candidates more quickly.
- Provide transplant centers quarterly benchmark reports that can be used as performance improvement tools. Centers will be able to compare key performance metrics, such as their waiting list population and the organs they’ve accepted, to those of other centers their size, as well as those in their region and nationwide. Another set of reports shows OPOs the eventual outcome of the organs that they placed and transplant centers the outcome of organs for which they declined an offer. OPOs and transplant centers use this tool to identify gaps in organ offer and acceptance behaviors to increase utilization of organs.
- Create a technology platform that will allow transplant centers and behavioral research science researchers to work together to test new ways of improving the organ offer system. This will allow rapid and cooperative evaluation of potential improvements to organ utilization and allocation.
UNOS said it is also supporting partners in the following commitments.
- HRSA will announce two studies that UNOS is conducting, one on the feasibility of collecting new information and another modifying existing transplant center performance monitoring and assessing best practices to increase utilization of moderate to high-risk kidneys.
- The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) is announcing a three year, $4.2 million grant to launch the Donor Management Research Institute – a collaboration between researchers at UNOS, the Oregon Health and Sciences University, the University of California San Francisco, and several organ procurement organizations around the country. The Institute will seek to produce new evidence-based standards of care by expanding a national, web-based donor management portal and conducting rigorous randomized controlled trials to test donor interventions that maximize the quantity and quality of life-saving organs each donor is able to give.