Measuring Donor Conversion Rates
How often do deceased individuals become donors?
Understanding Donor Conversion Metrics
When considering a donor conversion metric, ideally we would measure the number of actual donors from the number of deaths that are considered potential donors. In other words, when a death occurs in a hospital with no contraindications to donation, how often does a successful donation occur? This is the ideal metric, but we are currently unable to calculate it because we have no standardized definition of what is meant by a "potential donor." The "eligible death" definition was an attempt to define a pool of potential donors that most transplant professionals would agree could become donors; however, we know that many donors emerge every year who do not meet the eligible death definition; for example, donors aged older than 70 years or donors after circulatory determination of death. Because we cannot currently identify the pool of "potential donors," SRTR calculates the donor conversion rate only within the eligible death population. We measure the number of eligible deaths from whom at least one organ (heart, intestine, kidney, liver, lung, or pancreas) is procured for the purpose of transplant. SRTR's OPO-specific reports also report how many additional donors were successfully procured; however, these are not included in conversion rate metrics presented in the OPO-specific reports.
For the next article in the Guide to Key OPO Metrics, information on the donor yield metrics, click here.