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Prepare for a new process when the ABO policy change takes effect June 23

Published on: Sunday, June 5, 2016

When the ABO policy changes take effect June 23, 2016, transplant hospitals and OPOs will be responsible for new actions and must adjust their existing internal protocols accordingly. One particular action known as the organ check-in will make the system safer and ensure that the right organ gets to the right recipient.

Organ Check-in (New)
All transplant hospitals must develop and comply with a written protocol for checking in any organ that arrives from outside your hospital. You must follow this protocol when the organ arrives and before you open its external transport container.

Here’s what you’ll need to do when the organ arrives:

  • Check the information on the external organ label to confirm that the donor ID, the organ type, and the laterality information match the information for the organ you accepted.
  • Document that you completed the check in.
  • If you discover that the organ you received is not the organ you accepted, you must notify the host OPO as soon as possible, but within one hour of the time you began the check in.

When the pizza delivery person delivers your food, you check to make sure the pizza in the box is the one you actually ordered. The concept of the organ check in is the same. You are simply confirming and documenting that the organ that arrived at the hospital for your patient is the one you were expecting. Each hospital can designate who is responsible for performing the organ check in at your facility.

Make sure your hospital’s check-in protocol includes the following:

  • Requirement to document the time the organ arrives (before anyone opens the external container)
  • Requirement to confirm that the information on the OPTN external label matches the donor ID, organ type (and laterality, if applicable) of the organ you are expecting
  • If the information is wrong, a requirement to notify the OPO as soon as possible but at least within one hour of the time the organ arrives at your hospital.

The ABO verification will not take place until after the check in has occurred and the operating room staff receive the organ.

A complete toolkit of resources is available to help you prepare for this upcoming policy change.