Is Donor Service Area Market Competition Associated With Organ Procurement Organization Performance?

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Organ procurement organizations (OPOs) are currently evaluated on donation rates and number of organs per donor. However, there is significant variability in market characteristics which affect transplant programs' donor organ acceptance practices and OPOs' ability to successfully place higher risk organs. The impact of transplant market characteristics on OPO performance metrics has not been evaluated.


The OPO performance measures were correlated annually with the Herfindahl Hirschman Index, a standard measure of market competition for centers within the OPO donor service areas from 2003 to 2011.


More competitive donor service areas were associated with increased number of donors (P = 0.01) and eligible deaths (P < 0.001). Market competition was associated with increased use of high Donor Risk Index for kidney (P = 0.03) and liver (P = 0.01) allografts. The OPOs with increased competition in liver transplant also were noted to have a higher donor conversion rate (P < 0.001), more donors per million population (P < 0.001), and a higher utilization rate for liver allografts (P = 0.007).


These data suggest that proposals to increase district size to increase competition among transplant programs could result in improved organ utilization over time by incentivizing the use of marginal donor organs and increasing access to transplantation.

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