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Innovative electronic labeling and packaging solution spreads across OPOs

Currently, the process of packaging and labeling organs is done entirely by hand. Although it has served us well for many years, automating the process would greatly reduce the chances of transcription errors or mistakes due to illegible handwriting. A comprehensive electronic solution would also allow us to ensure that donated organs are matched correctly and efficiently with the identified recipient.

TransNet, a service of the OPTN, is the innovative new system that will get us there. It uses barcode scanning technology at the point of organ recovery to help label, package and track organs and other biologic materials being shipped for transplantation.

TransNet is the result of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Entrepreneur (formerly HHS Innovation Project) Program, which began in the fall of 2012. The project, funded by the Health Resources Services Administration, began its first trial in the summer of 2013 with five OPOs. Now in a second round of field testing involving eight OPOs, TransNet is receiving rave reviews. (Read more about the training and hear what some some participants had to say.) In 2015, the service will be made available for OPOs on a voluntary basis.

TransNet involves using an application developed for an Android tablet and a portable barcode printer, that interacts with DonorNet to supplement the current UNOS labeling system. During the organ recovery process, OPO procurement coordinators can use the system in the operating room to print on-demand labels and scan the information on all organs and materials to be transported. Clinical coordinators also can use it in the ICU, before organs are even recovered, to label blood tubes and other samples.

Once the second phase of field testing is complete, OPTN/UNOS will hold at least five, intensive train the trainer sessions in 2015 from March through July for OPOs interested in participating. Only 3 people from each OPO may attend, and class size is limited to 15.

The first two training sessions are scheduled from March 9-11 and April 15-17. Watch the OPTN and Transplant Pro websites for further information as it becomes available, including open registration dates.

Although OPOs are not required to use TransNet at this juncture, members of the OPTN/UNOS Operations and Safety Committee envision a day where all OPOs will have fewer paper forms for each organ and one where transplant centers can scan barcodes when they receive organs to correctly identify the recipient. As UNOS continues to train and certify more and more coordinators, we get one step closer to that goal.

OPOs currently testing TransNet include:

  • California Transplant Donor Network
  • LifeLink of Georgia
  • New England Organ Bank (new)
  • The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland
  • Mid-America Transplant Services (new)
  • LifeSource Upper Midwest OPO
  • LifeNet Health
  • LifeCenter Northwest (new)
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