Electronic Tracking and Transport of the Nation’s Organ Transplant System
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) would like to revise the existing organ system to improve identification, labeling, packaging, and transport of the nation’s organs 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.
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 HHS’s 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 should be considered for this 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 is working with OPTN, HRSA and HRSA contractors to update the current system.
Skill Sets for the External Entrepreneur (Previously External Innovation Fellow(s)):
- Should have a strong background and knowledge of operations research, human factors science, and health information technology, particularly as it involves interfacing with multiple IT systems. Inventory management experience may be useful.
- Ability to develop policies, protocols and procedures
- Ability to interact with multiple stakeholders, including organ recovery teams, organ donor hospitals, transplant hospitals, OPTN, HRSA and HRSA contractors.
Internal Entrepreneurs (Host Innovation Fellows):
- Joyce Somsak, MA (nominating official) - Associate Administrator for Healthcare Systems
- Richard Durbin – Director, Division of Transplantation, HRSA
External Entrepreneur (External Innovation Fellow)