Health IT Vendors, Software Developers Look to Streamline Automated Organ Donation Process

A successful organ transplant process hinges on timely notification of organ availability and communications between the recipient and donor teams. To hasten this process, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is working with two electronic health record (EHR) vendors, 58 organ procurement organizations, and 5,500 hospitals to reduce lag time during the transplant process.

The UNOS initiative, called Timely Donor Referral, has been in the works for 18 months and is being funded by the Smithfield Foundation, according to a report by Health Data Management.

The goal of Timely Donor Referral is to develop software and a standard process, using Health Level 7 protocols, to replace manual processes with an electronic interface into hospitals’ EHRs, according to the report. The protocols rely on data provided by the EHR vendor Cerner, which has the task of providing extracts of patient records to organ procurement organizations.

In the process being developed, a transplant nurse would press a button on Cerner’s interface that would immediately generate a report to an organ procurement organization as well as to Statline, a software vendor that includes services such as a donor registry and a communications hub. The procurement organization would then evaluate the viability of the donor organ.

“We’re building bridges between hospitals with a potential donor and a second bridge to organ procurement organizations or transplant centers,” Alex Tulchinsky, chief technology officer at UNOS, told Health Data Management.

Mary Butler is the associate editor at Journal of AHIMA.

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