Forward Focused: UW OPO Partners With Hospitals to Improve Organ Donation Rates

Representatives of the Forward Focus CollaborativeMadison, Wisconsin - Already one of the nation's highest performing and respected organ procurement organizations, the UW Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) is about half way through a major push to further increase organ donation rates in Wisconsin. The two-year initiative, titled Forward Focus: Excellence in Organ Donation, is the first local donation improvement collaborative in the nation.

"This collaborative is a means for the UW OPO, donor hospitals and the transplant center to work together in a new way, to go from a culture of 'my work' and 'your work' to our shared work," says Heather Murphy, RN, ThedaCare Improvement System Facilitator, one of the co-chairs of the initiative.

According to the UW OPO, there is potential to increase the number of organ donors they serve by thirty percent. Because every donor has the potential to save eight lives, this translates into hundreds more lives saved every year.

"The intent of the collaborative is to bring together multidisciplinary teams to participate in intensive series of learning sessions followed by action periods to rapidly learn, adapt, redesign, test, implement, and track experiments to meet our initiative goals," says Murphy.

The initiative began planning in May 2011 and the team is currently planning the second of three learning sessions.

"It is important for physicians to facilitate conversations, and be open to donation in cases that they may not have considered before. Often times it is the one thing that can bring a sense of comfort for families in a tragic situation," says Dina Steinberger, the UW OPO Donations Services Manager and co-chair of the initiative.

In addition to UW Hospital and Clinics, the following hospitals are collaborative members: Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, Marquette General Hospital, MCHS Eau Claire, Mercy Medical Center - Oshkosh, Ministry St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Vincent Hospital and Theda Clark Medical Center.