Increases in Tissue Donation Achieved Through Text Messaging Next-Of-Kin

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IntroductionTypically, OPO call centers telephone next-of-kin (NOK) to screen potential tissue donors and obtain authorization for tissue donation. Approximately 5% of patients meeting preliminary suitability for tissue donation are ruled out when this OPO is unable to reach NOK after death despite having mobile phone contact information.MethodsOPO call center staff were equipped with an iPhone and a text message template. A text message was sent to NOK when a cell phone number was available after all other efforts to contact NOK via phone were attempted and unsuccessful. A text message was sent to the available NOK’s cell number identifying the OPO and the OPO staff member and requesting a return call as soon as possible.ResultsOver a 2-year period, 290 NOK were texted resulting in contact in 159 cases (55%). Of the 159 NOK reached, 55 (35%) authorized tissue donation. Thirteen of the patients authorized were ruled out for both tissue and cornea donation while 42 went on to become tissue or cornea donors.ConclusionA simple text message identifying the OPO as the caller can be successful in achieving contact when a family is disinclined to answer the phone for an unknown caller, particularly following the death of a close family member. Utilizing text messaging to contact families can lead to successful donation outcomes in cases where the OPO would otherwise never reach them. Future practice considerations will include the incorporation of infographics and access to information about tissue donation into the text message sent to determine if improved rates of contact or authorization result.

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