Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another Way to Increase Organ Donations

As I’ve pointed out numerous times, there’s a critical shortage of cadaveric organs for transplantation into patients whose own organs have failed them. That’s why the news this month that Facebook would allow its members to list their organ donation status on their Facebook page was such welcome news. The hope is that social pressure, or at least the knowledge that their friends were doing it, would convince more people to become potential organ donors.

Researchers interested in organ donations are looking into other ways to increase organ donations as well. In one recent experiment, about half of all drivers arriving at a driver’s license renewal office to renew their license were shown a five-minute iPod video addressing common concerns about organ donation. The other half of the drivers did not see the video. Then in an exit poll, all drivers were asked to show the organ donor status written on their new licenses. 84% of the drivers who saw the video consented to be organ donors, compared to 72% of the group that did not see the video.

Apparently just a little effort to address people’s concerns about organ donation goes a long way toward convincing people to donate. Although the increase in willingness to donate after seeing the video was just 12 percentage points overall, that 12% is the equivalent of more than 40% of the 28% of drivers in the control group who chose not to donate after not seeing the video.

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