Staying true to our purpose of leading the OPO community, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) is undertaking a review of our accreditation program to shift from a focus on strictly meeting regulatory requirements to an emphasis on performance improvement. The goal of this shift is to help save more lives by identifying opportunities for OPOs to improve their overall performance. This new data-driven approach will replace the current “check the box” system.  More than 20 years ago, when the accreditation process was first established, this approach made sense. Now, with the increasing focus on improving individual OPO and overall system performance, we need to move into the 21st century to provide a program that helps OPOs identify potential areas of improvement. This approach will help all OPOs to improve and learn from each other, even those that are already high performing.  This review is one way that AOPO advances organ donation and transplantation by driving continual improvement of the donation process. It’s also a way for us to continue to add value to our OPO members.

Accreditation Task Force Leads Reforms

A task force has been created with individuals who have led successful change initiatives, represent different size OPOs and areas of the country, and are subject matter experts.  Chaired by Emily Goldbloom, the current chair of the AOPO Standards and Accreditation Committee (SAC), additional members include Jennifer McNary-McIlvain, current SAC vice-chair; Jennifer Prinz, immediate past chair of the SAC; Diane Brockmeier; Sara Pace-Jones; Deana Clapper; Dave DeStefano; Aninda Dutta; Jami Gleason; Gwen O’Shaughnessy; and Jeff Trageser. The task force’s charge is to develop a program that aligns with current standards of practice while driving performance improvement. In addition, the task force will be looking at ways to synergize the work of AOPO’s Data and Information Council UNION data project and work together to drive improvement. To allow time to develop a new program, AOPO is providing a one-year extension to all OPOs due for reaccreditation in 2021.

We have also had preliminary discussions with an outside accreditation organization regarding the development of a deemed status accreditation program for OPOs. These discussions are in their early phases and much work remains to be done to ensure any program undertaken is beneficial to AOPO members and the accreditation organization. These discussions will continue under the auspices of the task force.

Be Part of the Solution

We can use your help. If you have suggestions or ideas on how to improve our accreditation process, please contact Denise Sears. Now is the time to join in this important effort.

As always, I look for your feedback here and hope you will take the opportunity to engage with me. Together we are leading the way forward to improve the OPO community and secure our position as the world’s leader in organ procurement.

Steve Miller, CEO, AOPO