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Collaborative Improvement

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"We face similar challenges across the country. It was great to be able to work together as a transplant community to discuss these issues—what might not be a problem for your center is something you could help another center work through. The collaboration was priceless." — Emily Warren, transplant operations manager, Transplant Center at University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview


Find information about:

Current projects Upcoming projects Past projects

Contact us

Please email to learn more about collaborating to improve donation and transplant.

Collaborative Improvement (CI) initiatives are quality-focused efforts designed to bring organizations and teams together to work on a shared improvement goal. At the OPTN, every CI project aligns with a particular area of interest in the donation and transplant community, such as increasing the utilization of moderate-to-high KDPI kidneys, or the recovery of donation after circulatory death (DCD) organs.

The OPTN designs these projects so members can share effective practices with their cohort, who can then implement them, spreading progress and improving the system.

Collaborating to improve

OPTN collaboratives offer focused time and space for a group of participants to work toward a collective aim with identified goals, interventions, and measures. Peer-to-peer sharing of successes and challenges is integral to collaborative projects, and transparency is promoted through a supportive environment. Project learnings and results are shared for broader awareness and understanding. 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have noted the success of OPTN collaboratives in the donation and transplant community, and recommend a continued emphasis on sharing of effective practices.

What you can expect

OPTN CI projects focus on process and performance improvement rather than innovation, research, or policy development. While each project is designed with a different aim, they all follow the Model for Improvement developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Teams use a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) approach to identify areas of improvement, test interventions, track progress, and implement changes.

Collaborative improvement projects offer:

  • Dedicated structure and time to engage
  • Peer-to-peer collaboration
  • Group discussions and webinars
  • Improvement Guides
  • Customized data dashboards and other resources

Collaborative participants develop teams within their organizations and use project charters to identify opportunities to bring about desired change. They also receive support from the OPTN CI team as well as their peers in the collaborative.


Learn how other member organizations have seen success through OPTN collaborative improvement:

What you need to know

  • OPTN collaborative improvement projects are voluntary for OPTN members and each project is designed with a target member audience based on the topic.
  • Project Guidelines are tailored to specific goals of each effort and outline expectations and deliverables.
  • Registration requires the signing of a Participation Agreement, which is a legal document and allows for data transparency among participants.
  • An identified Project Lead and Project Sponsor will ensure commitment and accountability as well as organizational support of the effort.

The Project Lead will be responsible for team formation, project planning and project operations. They will communicate any deliverables to collaborative improvement staff. There will be only one Project Lead for each collaborative. A Project Lead should be a Primary Program Administrator or Quality Lead, or hold a similar position.

The Project Sponsor will support the Project Lead and the collaborative improvement team in setting goals, fostering buy-in, making decisions and assisting with resource allocation. There will be only one Project Sponsor for each collaborative. A Project Sponsor should be a medical or surgical director, or other key member of a leadership team.

Contact us

Please email to learn more about collaborating to improve donation and transplant.