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Nov. 5, 2009 Volume 31, No. 11

University Hospital lauded for organ transplant program

Medal of honor

Hospital has boosted organ donation rates

More than 100,000 people in the United States are currently waiting for organ transplants. However, the number of available transplantable organs is well below the amount needed due to a lack of organ donation by those who would qualify. University Hospital is working to improve those odds.

The hospital’s organ donor program recently received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2009 Medal of Honor for Organ Donation. This is the fourth consecutive year University Hospital has won the Medal of Honor; it is the only hospital in mid-Missouri to have ever won a Medal of Honor.

The award was presented to more than 400 of the nation’s largest hospitals for achieving organ donation consent rates at or above 75 percent over a 12-month period. In addition to the Medal of Honor, University Hospital was recognized for achieving a high standard for its average organ transplantation per donor rate and 20 percent growth in its renal transplant program.

“Meeting this standard is reflection on the hard work of our transplant team,” says Mark Wakefield, an urologist and director of the renal transplant program at University of Missouri Health Care and collaborative team member. “By making the evaluation process more efficient, we are able to place more patients on the organ donation recipient wait list. University Hospital’s average wait time for a deceased donor kidney transplant is 16 months, which we achieve while still maintaining great outcomes.”

In response to the national shortage of transplantable organs, University Hospital joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative in 2004. The collaborative is intended to dramatically increase access to transplantable organs through a strong relationship between hospitals and organ procurement organizations in order to identify more eligible organ donors, honor donation intentions as directed by the donor or donor’s family, and implement procedures to transfer organs to waiting recipients.

“The collaborative has assisted our team in identifying and implementing the best practices known to produce high donation rates,” Wakefield says. “As a result of this effort, University Hospital’s donation rate increased from 61 percent in 2005 to above 75 percent in 2007.”

Midwest Transplant Network partners with University Hospital to provide organ and tissue donation services to the community. Together they have built donation collaborative teams with members of both institutions. They strive to set goals, focus on education, perform more accurate data analysis and identify methods to consistently improve and maintain the donation services available to mid-Missourians.

“University Hospital’s donor program is very successful,” said Lori Kramer Clark, hospital services coordinator for Midwest Transplant Network. “One of the most pressing public health issues we as a nation face today is the disparity between available transplantable organs and those in need. University Hospital is demonstrating through a collaborative effort some of the best practices in increasing conversion rates.”