Matching organs. Saving lives.


Increasing the number of organs available for transplants

Region 4 OPO leadership shares effective practices in video recording

The annual number of transplants in 2014 was 29,532, a record at the time. We reviewed OPTN data to find out which areas of the country were responsible for driving this increase. Region 4 succeeded in increasing the number of donors in the region by 19% from 2013 to 2014, the largest increase of any region.The number of transplants in region 4 increased almost 10% (2,691 to 2,952) during this same period. Organ donation rates and transplant volumes had been stagnant over previous years.

The OPOs attribute their success to changes in leadership and culture, quality management and improvement, a specific focus on donor authorization and consent rates, and the recovery and use of donation after cardiac death (DCD) organs.


View the recording or read the transcript. After watching this video, you will be able to:

  1. Summarize four areas where Region 4 OPOs have made changes that increased the number of organs available for transplant.
  2. State at least two practices used by Region 4 OPOs that have contributed to their success.


After you view the recording, access the evaluation survey.

How Region 4 approached OPTN strategic goals

The OPTN Board of Directors recently approved an updated strategic plan. The plan’s goal is to focus efforts that will increase the number of organs available for transplant. UNOS wanted to know how region 4 was managing to meet that goal, so we asked them what they were doing differently.

As part of our discussions, four themes rose to the surface:

  • Leadership and culture shifts;
  • Changes in quality management and improvement;
  • Renewed focus on donor authorization and consent rates; and
  • An increase in recovery and utilization of donation after cardiac death (DCD) organs.

Region 4 OPO leadership shared that they have worked more closely over the past few years to build a unified front in achieving a common goal – to maximize the gifts available to get patients transplanted. With this goal, there was also an effort to renew and rebuild relationships – within their organizations and with their affiliated transplanting centers. They admit that it has been hard work with many challenges, but it is beginning to pay off.

Save the dates

Throughout 2016, UNOS will provide instructional offerings where Region 4 OPOs will share detailed information and resources to help you operationalize changes that help to increase the number of organs available for transplant.

In early March, we will post an article from the Region 4 perspective, entitled “Clarity, leadership, and trust. A path to success.” There will be a feedback opportunity for you to let us know strategies that are working well for your organization, and also to share challenges that you have encountered in increasing the number of organs available for transplant.

In late March, look for another recording that will focus on how to operationalize changes in leadership and organizational culture that have been effective for Region 4 OPOs.

Tell us what you think

Despite advances in medicine and technology, and increased awareness of organ donation and transplantation, the gap between supply and demand continues to widen. Like the transplant professionals throughout region 4, we want to encourage all of you to discuss your successful strategies for increasing the number of organs available for transplant. We also realize that it is important to understand specific obstacles that impede success.

Let us know what you are working on in your own region as well as the struggles you are encountering. Send your private feedback to or visit our OPTN site and start a conversation with your colleagues using Disqus (a feature available on the OPTN website).

Note: Disqus works best in Internet Explorer 11 and Chrome browsers.



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