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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Making Organ Donation an "opt out" choice

   The blog called HoCo Well and Wise yesterday had a blog on organ donation.  It is well worth reading.  In Maryland we can easily become an organ donor when we renew our drivers license.  Almost half of Maryland drivers choose to become an organ donor.  Some countries like Australia and Spain have an "opt out" system where a person is assumed to be willing to be a donor unless they take action to not be a donor.  Opt out systems are used to obtain higher participation rates for any type of program.   As reported in Lyros HQ:

"In  a study by Johnson and Goldstein, the rate at which people opted to donate their organs in different countries centered around two poles. In some countries the rate hovered around 80%, while in other countries it was around 20%, and there was no in between. It might seem obvious to want to attribute this to some kind of cultural difference. But countries thought to be culturally similar (like Sweden and Denmark) showed widely different behavior (85.9% and 4.25% respectively)." 
"As it turns out, what accounted for the difference was the way the question is structured on the registration form. In countries with high organ donation rates, people are opted in by default and must check a box to opt out of donating. In countries with low organ donation rates people must check a box to donate their organs. The Netherlands was an example of a country with an opt-in program and an unusually high organ donation rate of 27.5%. This is due to a large and expensive campaign to drive organ donation in the country. But overall, this study clearly demonstrates that the structure of the question has a definite impact on people's behavior."
Organ Donation Consent Rates by Country

     With the advancements in organ transplants and the shortage of organs it would be worth examining having states move to an "opt out" system.  You don't have to wait to renew your license to become a donor.  You can register to be a donor online.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing out how easy it is to give the gift of life!!