Decedents who had died a CMS-defined “eligible death” were included in the analyses.
CMS defines eligible death as a brain-dead individual up to age 70 who does not exhibit any of the exclusionary conditions (active infections, cancers, etc.) listed in CMS Conditions for Coverage for the OPOs (42 CFR §486.302).
In recent years critical pathways for organ donation have been developed to preserve the opportunity for donation.
Critical pathways, also called “clinical pathways” or “care maps,” help standardize medical care, reduce variability, and improve outcomes of medical procedures .
For each eligible decedent, information was retrieved on age, gender, race, hospital where death occurred, organ donor status, whether the decedent had joined the state donor registry (registered decedent), organs transplanted, and whether there was a process breakdown.
The outcome variable of interest is the number of organs transplanted from an eligible decedent.
Thus, it is an urgent and an ongoing concern that the opportunity for organ donation is preserved when caring for critically ill patients.
Estimates of organ donation potential indicate that there is a sizeable potential donor pool that the organ donation community is yet to completely realize.
In 2001, the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative was established to, among other reasons, encourage collaboration between the OPOs and donor and transplant hospitals .
Although considerable increase in the number of organs available for transplantation has been realized since the collaborative began [5–9], acute shortage of organs continues to be a major challenge for the transplant community.