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OPTN to launch a collaborative improvement project to increase recovery of DCD organs

Published on: Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network is ready to launch a new collaborative improvement project involving organ procurement organizations (OPOs). The project aims to identify and share effective practices related to recovery of donation after circulatory death (DCD) organs. Recovering and transplanting DCD organs already occurs across the country— increasing their recovery and utilization through collaboration will mean transplanting even more patients in need.

This project aligns with several initiatives of the OPTN strategic goal to increase the number of transplants, including expanding the use of collaborative improvement methodologies and models to increase organ utilization and promoting knowledge of and increasing implementation of effective donation and procurement practices.

This project has three phases:

  • Design phase – October-November 2020
    • Practice model organizations have been identified and an improvement guide has been developed. After the project framework is finalized, participating organizations will be able to enroll in the project beginning in November 2020.
  • Deployment phase – December 2020-June 2021
    •  OPOs will be oriented to the collaborative improvement model and the project goal, which is to increase DCD procurement. Teams will have access to a private project platform and be coached as they identify, initiate and work through their respective projects.
  • Evaluation phase – July-September 2021
    • Analysis of outcome and process measures will be reviewed to determine the effectiveness of the project and determine next steps, which could include a subsequent cohort, a national launch, or promotion of education.

This is the second OPTN collaborative improvement project undertaken in 2020. A pediatric liver discovery project launched earlier this year and involves more than a dozen transplant hospitals. Past collaborative improvement projects include the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (COIIN), which aimed to reduce risk-avoidance behaviors and increase transplantation of deceased donor kidneys with a kidney donor profile index (KDPI) greater than 50 percent.

By tracking progress and sharing key learnings in a supportive environment—coached by specialists—OPTN members can help each other improve organizational processes, become more efficient and increase lifesaving transplants.

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