iTransplant goes live for streamlined electronic donor record

Queensland has gone live with the new DonateLife electronic donor record (EDR), joining the other states and territories in using the new real-time clinical data repository to streamline data sharing on organ donation and transplantation processes nationally.

The EDR is based on the iTransplant medical information system from US company Transplant Connect, an off-the-shelf product that provides a web-based single data repository that can be updated in real time with information needed to support the donor referral, organ offer, donor management and organ retrieval processes.

It replaces in a consistent format the 28-page paper form called the Confidential Donor Referral Form (CDRF) and includes all of the necessary donor referral data, medico-social history and family consent information required.

iTransplant, which is used by over 50 donor agencies worldwide, was chosen for the new EDR in October 2012 and has since been customised and configured to suit the Australian setting. A spokesperson for Australia's Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA), which oversees the DonateLife Network of organ and tissue donation agencies and staff in 72 hospitals around the country, said customised was required to map each data element from the paper forms to the new application.

“Whilst many of the required data elements were contained within the out of the box version, some were missing and needed to be added,” the spokesperson said. “American terminology needed to be replaced with Australian terms and drop down lists needed to be customised to Australia practice.”

Most states and territories went live in March after several phases of validation and testing, with Queensland passing a required regulatory change this month to join the national system. Some quite complex legal and governance issues around sharing, accessing, security, storing and managing data needed to be overcome before the system was implemented.

While the EDR is a clinical system, it will not be accessed by transplant coordinators or clinicians on transplant teams, the spokesperson said. Instead, it will be used by DonateLife donation specialists, family service coordinators and other DonateLife clinical staff to enter information that can then transmitted directly from to transplant teams by email as a standard Donor Chart PDF.

“The information contained in the system is collected from family interviews, medical charts and laboratory tests,” the spokesperson said. “Donation specialists log on, enter and access the necessary information into the EDR. The information needed to allow each transplant unit to consider an organ offer is securely transmitted from the system.”

It does not link to other clinical systems or the Australian Organ Donor Register, which is checked separately, the spokesperson said. The AODR ensures that a person's donation decision can be verified 24 hours a day, seven days a week by authorised personnel anywhere in Australia.

The spokesperson said access to the EDR is monitored for security purposes and the system records the timing of all information transmissions, by whom and to whom.

The iTransplant system itself consists of separate modules for organ, eye and tissue donation, which can all be linked. The DonateLife EDR is using the organ donation module at the moment with an option to add the other modules in due course.

The EDR is supported 24 hours a day, seven days a week nationally by system administrators within each jurisdiction with further support from the OTA. The OTA says that since go-live, there have only been two after hours help desk queries directed to it.

Transplant Connect will continue to be involved in further developing the product, with updates to the EDR expected up to four times a year to ensure it keeps pace with the requirements of the donation and transplantation sectors.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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