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OPTN collaborative improvement project brings together 25 OPOs to increase the recovery of DCD organs

Published on: Monday, April 12, 2021

*This article was updated April 27, 2021, to accurately reflect the number of participating organizations after an additional OPO joined the project. The original article listed 25 OPOs.

In October 2020, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network launched an initiative to help organ procurement organizations (OPOs) identify and share effective practices related to recovery of donation after circulatory death (DCD) organs. The number of DCD organs recovered annually has risen steadily over the past decade, with 2020 exceeding 2019’s record-setting numbers by more than 18 percent.

The collaborative improvement project has drawn nearly half of the nation’s OPOs, who are participating in order to build on the recent performance improvement trends and save more lives.

The 26 participating OPOs include:

  • Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency
  • Carolina Donor Services
  • Donor Alliance
  • Donor Network of Arizona
  • Gift of Life
  • Iowa Donor Services
  • Legacy of Hope
  • Legacy of Life Hawaii
  • LifeCenter Northwest
  • LifeGift
  • Lifeline of Ohio
  • LifeLink of Florida
  • LifeShare Carolinas
  • LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma
  • Live on Nebraska
  • Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland
  • Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency
  • Nevada Donor Network
  • New England Donor Services
  • New Mexico Donor Services
  • OurLegacy
  • Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank
  • Sierra Donor Services
  • Southwest Transplant Alliance
  • Tennessee Donor Services
  • Versiti Organ and Tissue Donation

The OPTN DCD Procurement Collaborative will be in its deployment phase through June of this year. Participating OPOs are working toward the project goal to increase DCD procurement through testing interventions within their organizations. Teams have access to a private project platform with an improvement guide and resources, and are provided coaching to support them on their respective project work.  An evaluation phase will follow and will offer an opportunity to analyze the outcome and process measure data to determine the effectiveness of the project.

The OPTN brings collaborative improvement projects to the community

This DCD project is one of several collaborative improvement initiatives the OPTN has undertaken in the past several years. A pediatric liver discovery project launched in 2020 and involved more than a dozen transplant hospitals. Past collaborative improvement projects also include the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network, which aimed to reduce risk-avoidance behaviors and increase transplantation of deceased donor kidneys with a kidney donor profile index greater than 50 percent. Additionally, a demonstration project is underway that focuses on effective practices regarding how donor hospitals refer potential deceased donors to OPOs.

Explore the Improvement section on the OPTN website to learn more about collaborative improvement, understand the impact the methodology has already had on transplantation, and to find out more about upcoming projects.

For more information about OPTN collaborative improvement, contact