The Southwest Transplant Alliance (STA) announced it’s expanding its automated electronic referral technology to health systems across Texas. The platform automatically ties into hospitals’ electronic medical records in order to alert STA when a possible organ donor meets clinical triggers to help the more than 113,000 individuals on the organ transplant waiting list.
STA is a Dallas-based nonprofit organ procurement organization that has been recovering donated organs for transplantation for more than four decades. Recently, the organization broke ground on a first-of-its kind facility in Dallas that will further its mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation. The 77,000 square-foot-foot facility at 8190 Midtown Blvd. is scheduled to open in 2020, and will feature state-of-the-art equipment, donor care units, and a conference center.
“Implementing this technology platform knits together hospital medical records and our donor records to help drive a more efficient process and increase the number of organs available for transplant,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of STA Patti Niles in a statement. “Collaborating with hospitals and streamlining how we receive referrals also supports President Trump’s executive order to improve the organ procurement process and industry.”
This year, the Trump Administration announced an effort to investigate and improve organ procurement organization performance. Since, STA has been part of the initiative, providing expertise and proposed improvement plans based on technology.
The group sees a nationwide electronic referral system as a solution that would bring organ procurement organizations into closer collaboration with hospitals which would increase efficiency and enhance donor referral timeliness which in turn would increase the number of transplantable organs and improve patient outcomes.
The need and value around improving the organ and tissue donation process is a widely discussed medical profession topic. The U.S. government is looking into improving America’s transplant system, from supporting donors to managing organ procurement to improving transplant patient care, said Alex M. Azar II, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week Event.
“[STA’s] technology could completely transform organ donation and transplantation by arming frontline staff with the tools they need to help organizations like STA receive notification of a potential organ donor as quickly as clinical triggers are met,” said Dr. Alejandro Mejia, executive program director of Organ Transplantation at the Liver Institute at Methodist Health System Dallas.
Mejia added that the automated referral system supports frontline staff and could possibly revolutionize organ donation and transplantation on a national level.
STA’s platform was pilot tested over the last year at Tyler’s CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital. During the program, STA realized a 52 percent increase in tissue referrals and a 31 percent increase in tissue donors. There was also a 40 percent increase in organ donor referrals from January to October 2019 and a dramatic 100 percent increase in lives saved from transplants via donors originating at that hospital compared to the same period in 2018.
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