Using telehealth tools to increase organ donation

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New York has one of the lowest rates for organ donation in the country, a problem the state has been actively working on for the last few years.

In October, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a number of executive orders to work toward improving donation numbers. This included making “Lauren’s Law” permanent, which requires all drivers to verify whether they’ll become an organ donor before their license is processed.

But not only does New York need more willing organ donors, it needs an efficient system to process them in a timely fashion. Organizations like LiveOnNY are seeking to do just that — and a partnership with Northwell Health is taking on the problem using telehealth.

Founded in 1978, the nonprofit works with 10 transplant centers and more than 90 hospitals in the New York metropolitan area, including Northwell, a network of 61,000 providers at 22 hospitals, and rehabilitation, outpatient and skilled nursing facilities in the area.

LiveOnNY contacted Northwell about two years ago to improve the process of identifying organ donors, said Iris Berman, vice president of telehealth services at Northwell.

The pair discussed the health system’s organ donation efforts, including Northwell’s use of the Glasgow Coma Scale to determine a patient’s neurological state and organ integrity. Through these conversations, the organizations realized they were a fit.

The partnership had one goal in mind: Keep bedside nurses at their post with patients and their families and train eICU critical care nurses to take over the task of calling LiveOnNY for organ donation referrals.

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About the Author:

Corey Bryant serves as Director of Communications for The Alliance.
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