Donor Network West Helps Test the First National Donor Image Sharing Hub

(San Ramon, CA) April 23, 2019 – Donor Network West, the federally designated organ and tissue procurement organization for Northern California and Nevada, is collaborating with the nation’s transplant system to test technology that could increase the number of organs transplanted in the United States. The organization is one of only six of the nation’s 58 organ procurement organizations (OPOS) selected to test a national hub for sharing computerized medical images during the organ offer process.

During the pilot, which began January 16, the participating OPOs are able to upload high-quality medical imaging studies to DonorNet®, part of the secure web-based platform that matches patients with available donor organs. Any transplant center in the country that receives an organ offer from them can view the studies. The OPOs testing the system functionality report their experiences back to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the non-profit that serves as the nation’s transplant system under contract with the federal government.

“With the hundreds of thousands waiting for organ transplants nationally, we need to do everything in our power to give them hope by increasing utilization of organs to save more lives,” says Janice F. Whaley, Chief Executive Officer of Donor Network West. “We are proud to share our experience with image-sharing technology to help decrease the number of organs that are not used and increase the number of transplants overall.”

As of April 15, the six pilot OPOs have uploaded 823 image studies from 276 different deceased donors. Those images have been viewed 2,896 times.

“We couldn’t get this project off the ground without the collaboration of our OPO partners,” said UNOS Business Architect and project lead Rob McTier.  “We rely on their experience to help us identify additional functionally, training or support required before the national rollout.”

national donor image sharing hub
Jared Siekierka using the national donor image sharing hub

When implemented nationally, this consistent, reliable and secure national image sharing system is expected to:

  • Increase safety by ensuring that transplant centers are viewing the correct image studies by linking them to the organ offer.
  • Increase the number of organs transplanted by allowing transplant hospital staff to better evaluate an organ before they accept an offer and send out a recovery team. Without imaging, the transplant hospital may discover during the recovery that the organ is not appropriate for their recipient.  More lives can be saved because organs are allocated appropriately with less chance they have to be re-allocated.
  • The efficiency and effectiveness of an on-line and accessible imaging studies will expedite the placement of available organs.

Click here for a Q&A with Jared Siekierka, Clinical Operations Manager of Donor Network West.

About Donor Network West

Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation. The organization was established in 1987, and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 40 counties in Northern California and Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit DonorNetworkWest.org and follow us on social media: @mydnwest.

About United Network for Organ Sharing

UNOS serves as the nation’s Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) under federal contract. As the OPTN, it matches lifesaving organs with people awaiting transplants nationwide and manages the national database of medical information about transplant candidates, recipients, and donors.