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Donor Referral Practices Demonstration Project has concluded

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network launched a demonstration project in 2020 to explore effective practices regarding deceased donor referral processes and to investigate a potential nationally-standardized set of donor referral data elements.  The project, which concluded in July 2021, aligned with the OPTN strategic goal to increase the number of transplants by expanding the use of collaborative improvement methodologies to promote knowledge of and increase implementation of effective donation and procurement practices.

Over the course of the demonstration project, the OPTN collaborative improvement team deployed a survey to all organ procurement organizations (OPOs) to ascertain information and data elements received at the time of an initial donor referral. The team also sought qualitative feedback concerning organizational capacity, technology, and areas of improvement within referral processes.

Analysis of OPO survey responses about their practices indicated that OPOs are maintaining robust referral processes with donor hospitals, and many OPOs are currently working on enhancements or automated solutions to their donor referral processes with the implementation of existing IT solutions. As part of their analysis, the collaborative improvement project staff also compared the required and preferred donor referral data elements of the participating OPOs to the current version of the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI).1

Results indicate that while the USCDI already includes a number of data elements currently used by some OPOs, other data elements that some OPOs require would involve individual, resource-intensive use-case data submissions for USCDI consideration. For this reason, the OPTN does not plan to recommend data elements to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) data submission process as it would not result in a standard data set. 

The OPTN demonstration project has concluded with no further commitment to proceed with an ONC submission.

For more information about OPTN collaborative improvement, visit the Improvement section of the website.


1.The USCDI is a standardized set of health data classes and elements for nationwide, interoperable exchange and is managed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).