Sharing best practices in the learning space is as common — and can be as beneficial to participants — as blood in veins. For organizations that process organs and tissue, a centralized training site where they can collaborate, identify and implement best practices and offer learning opportunities can maximize donation rates and reduce human errors in the chain from donors to recipients.
The bottom line: These activities can help to save lives.
Learning vendor Knowledge Factor has provided organ- and tissue-procurement organizations (such as hospitals, blood banks, and state and local agencies) this sort of service free via the Workforce4life.org portal, the first organ and tissue university in the highly regulated organ and tissue donor industry.
The portal provides a central location for any person working in an organ procurement organization (OPO) or tissue bank to and find training courses related to organ and tissue recovery. It also allows OPOs to access the latest information on government regulations, standards and compliance.
“There are a few courses there right now and others in the works, but you’ll find courses related to the process of organ donation and recovery, as well as tissue donation and recovery, and various aspects of that, from the recovery of heart valves through to the recovery of skin and muscle skeletal tissue,” said Amy Iveson, Donor Alliance vice president of organ procurement operations. “The other really nice benefit that Workforce4life provides for the OPO and tissue banking community is an opportunity to find out the latest information. There will be links there to information from the different sponsoring organizations, as well as upcoming events and an opportunity to really share resources.”
The OPO community heavily relies on the knowledge and skill of its front-line staff when considering an organ or tissue donor matchup. With more than 95,000 people waiting for organ transplants, learning and operational best practices are not just preferred — they are critical because one missed opportunity could literally mean loss of life.
Iveson said a national collaborative effort has been afoot for organ donation, and one is starting for tissue donation, whereby high-performing OPOs and tissue banks with great outcomes are making a concentrated effort to identify best practices that can be shared. If those best practices become common practice, every organization can rise to a certain level of service.
“It’s great for us to be very successful, but if our colleague in the next state isn’t very successful, that means people in their area are dying, and that’s not an acceptable outcome,” she said.
Participation in or use of Workforce4life.org is not mandatory. Rather, it’s more of an encouraged resource, but Iveson said once an OPO or tissue bank decides to take advantage of the learning available, it can decide to make certain offerings mandatory for staff members.
Further, she said many OPOs and organizations that facilitate tissue recovery and processing, as well as make tissue grafts available for transplant, do require staff members to use portal resources.
“The effort on behalf of Knowledge Factor really is to encourage best practices and to provide a forum where information can be shared and opportunities for individuals to be directed to the right place to register to be an organ or tissue donor,” Iveson said. “In the long run, that is a very important component of us being successful because if people don’t sign up to be organ donors, ultimately, we might miss an opportunity. We’re not only effectively training the people who are doing the front-line work of recovering organs and tissues — we’re also encouraging people to be donors, which is a very important social decision.”
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