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Envisioning and Leading Organizational Transformation: One Organ Procurement Organization's Journey



Abstract

Background: In 2012, one organ procurement organization (OPO) welcomed a new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This OPO, LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma (LifeShare), had just celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011. While LifeShare was well-established chronologically, growth in organ donors and organs transplanted from these donors had occurred at a much slower rate during the collaborative era and afterward (2003-2011) than the donor/transplant growth the United States (US), as a whole, had experienced.

While this performance had been stable, it was in the lower quartile of US OPOs on a per capita basis (organs transplanted per donor), and conversion rates were unremarkable. It was the sense of the OPO and donation service area (DSA) constituents that there was an opportunity for growth. It was under this premise that the new CEO was recruited in late 2011 and assumed leadership in February 2012.

Method: It important to note that the new CEO (the author) found LifeShare possessed numerous significant assets upon which to build. These included a strong core of committed and dedicated staff, a supportive Board, supportive transplant centers, and a strong state donor registry. Therefore, it was apparent that, while achieving the DSA's potential would require a transformation of the organization, the transformation did not necessarily require replacing core staff, often a common step undertaken by new chief executives.

Beginning in 2012, the CEO sought to transform both the culture and the operation of the organization by focusing on a short list of key strategies. Culturally, three primary initiatives were undertaken: leadership development, staff development, and establishing "organizational clarity". Operationally, the primary focus was identifying organ donor potential and then, based upon the opportunities for improvement, focusing on operational policies and practices. As LifeShare's team began to identify pockets of unrealized potential donors, recognized best practices were deployed to areas of opportunity, including responding to all vented referrals, implementation of dedicated family requestors, broadening of already-existing in-house coordinator programs, and aggressive expansion of the donors after cardiac death (DCD) program.

Results: From 2008 through 2011, the four years prior to the organization beginning its change journey, LifeShare recovered 344 organ donors from which 1,007 organs were transplanted in 48 months. During the first 48 months of the change journey (2012 through 2015), 498 organ donors (+44.8%) provided 1,536 organs transplanted (+52.5%). DCD donors increased from 22 to 91 (+413.4%) and brain death (BD) donors from 322 to 407 (+26.4%). While the rate of growth is slowing somewhat, the first eight months of 2016 continue to show a percentage growth over 2015 in double digits for both organ donors and organs transplanted.

Discussion: Clearly, our results have been transformed and continue to be transformed. A cultural foundation for both leadership and staff, combined with a single-minded focus on maximizing recovery of potential organ donors and maximizing transplantation of every potential organ, has allowed us to achieve exceptional growth rates on a scale that has resulted in more than 500 additional organs transplanted and lives saved over the last four years when compared to pre-change results.



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Original article
peer-reviewed

Envisioning and Leading Organizational Transformation: One Organ Procurement Organization's Journey


Author Information

Jeffrey P. Orlowski Corresponding Author

President & CEO, LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma


Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Human subjects: This study did not involve human participants or tissue. Animal subjects: This study did not involve animal subjects or tissue. Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared that no conflicts of interest exist.

Acknowledgements

The author would like to acknowledge the staff of LifeShare who have embraced a vision of what LifeShare could be and then done the hard work of making it a reality. The success of the organization is not the author's but rather that of more than 100 caring, committed individuals who live our organizational clarity each and every day. My role has been to provide a catalyst for change, a vision of what could be, and then to provide this remarkable group with the resources and support to make the vision a reality. I would also like to acknowledge the Board of LifeShare, the transplant centers in our state, and our donor hospitals, all of whom have also bought into and supported LifeShare in this remarkable journey. Most importantly, I want to acknowledge the donors and their families, those who gave the gift of life at the hardest possible time. You are my heroes.


Original article
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Envisioning and Leading Organizational Transformation: One Organ Procurement Organization's Journey


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Original article
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Optimization Strategies for Organ Donation and Utilization

Envisioning and Leading Organizational Transformation: One Organ Procurement Organization's Journey

  • Author Information
    Jeffrey P. Orlowski Corresponding Author

    President & CEO, LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma


    Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures

    Human subjects: This study did not involve human participants or tissue. Animal subjects: This study did not involve animal subjects or tissue. Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared that no conflicts of interest exist.

    Acknowledgements

    The author would like to acknowledge the staff of LifeShare who have embraced a vision of what LifeShare could be and then done the hard work of making it a reality. The success of the organization is not the author's but rather that of more than 100 caring, committed individuals who live our organizational clarity each and every day. My role has been to provide a catalyst for change, a vision of what could be, and then to provide this remarkable group with the resources and support to make the vision a reality. I would also like to acknowledge the Board of LifeShare, the transplant centers in our state, and our donor hospitals, all of whom have also bought into and supported LifeShare in this remarkable journey. Most importantly, I want to acknowledge the donors and their families, those who gave the gift of life at the hardest possible time. You are my heroes.


    Article Information

    Published: November 15, 2016

    DOI

    10.7759/cureus.879

    Cite this article as:

    Orlowski J P (November 15, 2016) Envisioning and Leading Organizational Transformation: One Organ Procurement Organization's Journey. Cureus 8(11): e879. doi:10.7759/cureus.879

    Publication history

    Received by Cureus: September 26, 2016
    Peer review began: September 30, 2016
    Peer review concluded: November 15, 2016
    Published: November 15, 2016

    Copyright

    © Copyright 2016
    Orlowski. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 3.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    License

    This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Background: In 2012, one organ procurement organization (OPO) welcomed a new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This OPO, LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma (LifeShare), had just celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011. While LifeShare was well-established chronologically, growth in organ donors and organs transplanted from these donors had occurred at a much slower rate during the collaborative era and afterward (2003-2011) than the donor/transplant growth the United States (US), as a whole, had experienced.

While this performance had been stable, it was in the lower quartile of US OPOs on a per capita basis (organs transplanted per donor), and conversion rates were unremarkable. It was the sense of the OPO and donation service area (DSA) constituents that there was an opportunity for growth. It was under this premise that the new CEO was recruited in late 2011 and assumed leadership in February 2012.

Method: It important to note that the new CEO (the author) found LifeShare possessed numerous significant assets upon which to build. These included a strong core of committed and dedicated staff, a supportive Board, supportive transplant centers, and a strong state donor registry. Therefore, it was apparent that, while achieving the DSA's potential would require a transformation of the organization, the transformation did not necessarily require replacing core staff, often a common step undertaken by new chief executives.

Beginning in 2012, the CEO sought to transform both the culture and the operation of the organization by focusing on a short list of key strategies. Culturally, three primary initiatives were undertaken: leadership development, staff development, and establishing "organizational clarity". Operationally, the primary focus was identifying organ donor potential and then, based upon the opportunities for improvement, focusing on operational policies and practices. As LifeShare's team began to identify pockets of unrealized potential donors, recognized best practices were deployed to areas of opportunity, including responding to all vented referrals, implementation of dedicated family requestors, broadening of already-existing in-house coordinator programs, and aggressive expansion of the donors after cardiac death (DCD) program.

Results: From 2008 through 2011, the four years prior to the organization beginning its change journey, LifeShare recovered 344 organ donors from which 1,007 organs were transplanted in 48 months. During the first 48 months of the change journey (2012 through 2015), 498 organ donors (+44.8%) provided 1,536 organs transplanted (+52.5%). DCD donors increased from 22 to 91 (+413.4%) and brain death (BD) donors from 322 to 407 (+26.4%). While the rate of growth is slowing somewhat, the first eight months of 2016 continue to show a percentage growth over 2015 in double digits for both organ donors and organs transplanted.

Discussion: Clearly, our results have been transformed and continue to be transformed. A cultural foundation for both leadership and staff, combined with a single-minded focus on maximizing recovery of potential organ donors and maximizing transplantation of every potential organ, has allowed us to achieve exceptional growth rates on a scale that has resulted in more than 500 additional organs transplanted and lives saved over the last four years when compared to pre-change results.



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Jeffrey P. Orlowski, M.Sc.

President & CEO, LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma

For correspondence:
jorlowski@lifeshareok.org

Jeffrey P. Orlowski, M.Sc.

President & CEO, LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma

For correspondence:
jorlowski@lifeshareok.org