Calculating the true cost of organ delays

Calculating the true cost of organ delays

From the moment an organ is authorized for donation to when it arrives in the operating room beside its intended recipient, time is of the essence.

Eliminating time delays is a huge factor in reducing hospital costs – which affects everyone involved in the transplant process. There is improved organ viability when the organ transportation takes less time to get from donor to recipient.

As the donation and transplantation communities move forward and streamline the intricate supply chain from OPOs to transplant centers, the focus has been a matter of transportation timing, and for good reason:

When an operating room is booked to transplant a recovered organ, any delay in transportation can cost money for the center. Operating costs tend to be extremely pricey, ranging from $42 to $150 per minute, depending on the complexity of the procedure, with an average cost at $100+/- a minute.

Transportation delays also generate stress for the patients waiting for their lifesaving organ that may – or may not – get there in time.

Additionally, organ transportation timing is important for a variety of reasons the most important of which is that each additional hour of travel may shorten the extra years of life the organ can provide to the transplanted patient.

“The reality is that there are lots of frustrations when it comes to moving organs. We have a systems problem,” says Joseph R. Scalea, MD, transplant surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore and the CEO of MediGO. “Transportation,” says Dr. Scalea, “is kind of an afterthought, but issues around it can affect both transplant volumes and outcomes.”

What does the current organ transportation system look like?

Organ procurement organizations (OPOs) play the largest role in initiating the transplant process, with transplant centers working in close partnership. Once recovery occurs,transplant centers are tasked with coordinating transplant surgeries with incoming organs possibly arriving from several destinations at a time. Each organ can be delayed by flight delays, changing weather patterns and traffic.

Watching these dynamics play out in real-time got Dr. Scalea thinking about creating a new, more dependable tracking and delivery system for organ transportation.

MediGO was specifically designed to make vital information available to all stakeholders during every step of the organ transportation process. It ensures every part of the transplant chain of custody can be seen in real-time on a dashboard, so everyone knows exactly when an organ will arrive.

That means:

  • Medical personnel are ready to go exactly as needed.
  • Operating rooms are not ‘on hold’ earlier than an organ will arrive, wasting medical time and resources, not to mention dollars and cents.
  • Hospital billing and costs related to surgery can be more accurate.
  • Transplant recipients can be better prepped for surgery when the center knows when the organ is arriving.

Better outcomes benefit us all

“All in all,” concludes Dr. Scalea, “our dated approach to transportation reduces access to transplantable organs.”

It’s time the transplant community looks more closely at the current organ transportation system. It is not optimized to function at its highest possible level. The need for a more accurate, transformative system is here. Fortunately, a new path has been forged using GPS, communications data, medical ethics and organ transplant logistics.

MediGO is leading the next wave in organ transplant success.

The team at MediGO understands the lifesaving work of all those involved in the organ donation and transplantation process. We exist to streamline transplant logistics and communications from OPOs to transplant centers and help save more lives.