How MediGO Came to Be: Our Story
By Paul Summers
A common question we get asked is how did MediGO come to be? In response, we often share the journey that our team has taken to create MediGO, a mission-oriented company, and the vision that continues to inspire and drive us towards applying innovative technologies to the transplant industry.
Through our blog, we thought we would formally share and codify our history in order to invite partners in the ecosystem to join us in our objective to build trust and transparency in the transport of organs for transplantation. So here goes…
1. World‘s First Historic Flight of a Human Organ
The University of Maryland Medical Center in conjunction with Dr. Joseph Scalea, MediGO’s Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder, and the Baltimore Organ Procurement Organization, The Living Legacy Foundation, conducted the world’s first historic flight of a human organ on an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in 2019. This resulted in the subsequent and successful transplant of the UAS-flown kidney into a recipient. As revolutionary and groundbreaking as the milestone was, it essentially served as proof of concept in UAS as a viable mode of transportation with immense possibilities in high-value cargo for the healthcare field in years to come.
2. Survey of 57 OPOs
Born out of that first historic flight of an organ, the commercialization of a company, MissionGO, conducted an in-depth needs-based study within the transplant community including a research survey of all 57 Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) around UAS as a future viable mode of transportation for organs. Part of the survey sought to understand current practices of tracking and monitoring human organs in shipment to inform how that may be achieved by UAS in the future. Early into the study, it became clear that there was and is currently no industry-wide logistical tool that provides this bridge of visibility and control of an organ between the donor and recipient hospitals/transplant centers. Whereas MissionGO was seeking to inform the technological solutions for future UAS, it became clear that the urgent need to innovate and provide this logistical bridge was needed now for OPOs and transplant centers. Thus came about the genesis of MediGO, which was launched as an independent logistical solutions company to meet the urgent need for visibility across the transplant continuum.
3. Private and Public Sector Partnerships
MediGO is the result of the private and public healthcare sectors coming together with the clear goal of improving access to lifesaving organs through technology and efficiency. MediGO set out to identify and learn the issues and opportunities in transplant logistics by developing a collaborative vision. After surveying each of the 57 OPOs, MediGO engaged a select few innovative OPOs to form a Transplant Advisory Group (TAG) to understand the basic requirements and guide the development of this organ logistical platform for the entire transplant community.
We then collaborated with key partners, including universities, transplant centers, and innovative OPOs, to develop the ideal communication, analytics, and logistical operating system. Our team discovered that there were inherent challenges within the existing transplant field and many stem from an evolving transplant distribution model. Currently, OPOs are charged with the identification and management of donors, recovery of organs, and the travel agency of moving organs to their final destination. As needs have evolved these collective responsibilities have become a daunting practice.
MediGO quickly found that OPOs want innovation…now!. The OPO community has been integral to this project from its inception and has proactively participated in research and analysis of requirements from the start. MediGO’s interviews of numerous industry partners, each with the goal of improving the field, ended with a resounding conclusion: it is time to address the logistical challenges of transplantation. The industry wants to sustainably grow.
Indeed, advanced logistics and communication systems have the power to manage the chain of custody and keep key stakeholders informed of an organ’s whereabouts ensuring accuracy and performance gains in the face of expanding demands. In the context of a changing industry, it is time to adopt a new approach to organ logistical management. MediGO in collaboration and partnership with the entire transplant community has pioneered the technology that will help OPOs to succeed.