Transplant Care: The Gap Remains Wide

Transplant clinics have not improved from public reporting

(RxWiki News) Organ transplant clinics have to report their success rates. The idea is to help patients find the best medical care and motivate clinics to improve their care. But public reporting does not seem to be helping.

Public reporting of the successes and failures at transplant clinics has not changed the care that patients receive. The current method used to measure success is less accurate than a more recent method.

"Research the quality of care your transplant clinic delivers."

This study was conducted by a team of researchers including Constantia Petrou, Ph.D., and Stefanos Zenios, Ph.D., both from Culmini Inc. - a company that develops web tools to support public reporting of outcomes to patients and doctors.

The researchers found that public reporting has done little to reduce the gaps between the best and worst transplant clinics. This lack of effect may be due to the methods used to measure successes and failures.

The study's findings showed that a newer method for public reporting - called a generalized mixed effect method - is more accurate at demonstrating the differences between transplant clinics. Using this new method, the researchers were able to find that the gaps between the best and worst transplant clinics did not decrease after public reporting started in 2001.

The authors say that more studies are needed to better understand why public reports have not diminished the differences between transplant clinics.

According to Dr. Petrou, about 29 percent of deaths and 33 percent of organ failures could be prevented if public reports were effective and each transplant clinic's outcomes were the same as those from the best clinic. Not making such improvements "is like having one Boeing 747 with transplant recipients crash every year," says Dr. Petrou.

The study is published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

Review Date: 
October 13, 2011