Electronic Tracking & Transport of the Nation’s Organ Transplant System
The Health Resources and Services Administration is working to revise the existing organ transplantation system and include electronic components for identifying organs and tracking their movement, to minimize the potential for misdirection or other delays in organ transportation and reduce the chance of incorrect transplantation.
Joyce Somsak, HRSA
Richard Durbin, HRSA
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) collects more than 8,000 organs from deceased donors each year, and more than 22,000 organ transplants are completed annually. Use of electronic information capture provides a means of improving safety by eliminating the risk of manual transcription error, and speeding up the information transfer process. It is the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) belief that a revision of the OPTN organ identification, labeling, packaging, and transport system to include electronic components for identifying organs and tracking their movement will minimize the potential for misdirection or other delays in organ transportation and reduce the chance of incorrect transplantation. Among the key electronic elements that are being considered during the revision are: (1) digitized organ identification and organ container labeling using a system such as bar codes or Quick Response (QR) matrix bar codes, and (2) organ container tracking/tracing process through technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) and Geo Position Satellite (GPS) tracking.
An electronic organ tracking system will have several important public health benefits, including: minimizing the potential for misdirected or delayed organ transport, reducing the chance for incorrect transplantation, eliminating manual transcription errors, accelerating information transfer about the organs to key program stakeholders, and capturing extensive organ transport data and logistical information that will provide invaluable to the OPTN for optimizing organ allocation and minimizing geographic variability in organ access for people waiting for transplantation. External Entrepreneur David Cartier and Internal Entrepreneurs Joyce Somsak and Richard Durban are working with OPTN to update the current system.
To date, David has been field testing the electronic tracking system that has been developed at various sites to improve the product. Additionally, David has briefed the OOPTN Board of Directors on progress being made through the project and the plans to have a fully deployable application built by 2014.
HHS Entrepreneurs is one of our in-residence pathways that is bringing new talent into government. HHS Entrepreneurs pairs HHS employees with external expertise to work on an identified problem for a 12 month period. This project is one of five projects from the first cohort of HHS Entrepreneurs. Learn more about HHS Entrepreneurs.