Facebook Initiative Boosts Organ Donor Registration Significantly | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Facebook Initiative Boosts Organ Donor Registration Significantly

June 18, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

An initiative on Facebook single-handily led to a 21-fold increase of people who registered themselves as an organ donor in a single day, researchers at Johns Hopkins University recently discovered. The results of the study indicate that social media may be the perfect way to battle the static number of donors in the country.

The 21-fold increase happened in May of last year when Facebook allowed users to share their organ donor status with friends. It also provided a link that let users make their status official on state department of motor vehicle websites.

Looking at the data from Facebook and the organ registry lists, the researchers discovered that when that initiative began, 57,451 Facebook users had updated their profiles to share their organ donor status. Of that number, 13,012 were new online donor registrations, representing a 21.2-fold increase over the average daily registration rate of 616 nationwide.

“The short-term response was incredibly dramatic, unlike anything we had ever seen before in campaigns to increase the organ donation rate. And at the end of two weeks, the number of new organ donors was still climbing at twice the normal rate," study leader Andrew M. Cameron, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a statement.

Dr. Cameron says if this success can be captured long-term then the needle can be moved significantly. According to Johns Hopkins, while the number of donors has remained relatively the same, the need for organs has climbed 10-fold. There are more 118,000 people currently on waiting lists in the United States for kidneys, livers and other organs.

This is just the latest in a line of research efforts looking to determine how social media can be used to improve healthcare. Recent research at the University of Texas at Austin found that Twitter is not only a popular source for receiving and sharing new information about vaccines, but it can also be a reliable one as well.



NewYork-Presbyterian, Walgreens Partner on Telemedicine Initiative

NewYork-Presbyterian and Walgreens are collaborating to bring expanded access to NewYork-Presbyterian’s healthcare through new telemedicine services, the two organizations announced this week.

ONC Releases Patient Demographic Data Quality Framework

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) developed a framework to help health systems, large practices, health information exchanges and payers to improve their patient demographic data quality.

AMIA, Pew Urge Congress to Ensure ONC has Funding to Implement Cures Provisions

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) have sent a letter to congressional appropriators urging them to ensure that ONC has adequate funding to implement certain 21st Century Cures Act provisions.

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.

NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.