Using a Standardized Donor Ratio to Assess the Performance of Organ Procurement Organizations


  • Sheryl Stogis,

    Search for more papers by this author
    • This work was supported by a dissertation grant from the Health Care Financing Administration (now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). We are grateful to Larry Hunsicker, Leah Bennett, John Rosendale, and Michael Sturm for facilitating this study. This is not meant to imply that these individuals concur with the results and conclusions of this paper.

  • Richard A Hirth,

  • Robert L Strawderman,

  • Jane Banaszak-Holl,

  • Dean G Smith

Address correspondence to Richard A. Hirth, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health, 109 S. Observatory, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029. Dr. Hirth is with both the Department of Health Management and Policy and the Department of Internal Medicine. Sheryl Stogis, Dr.P.H., is with Alexian Brothers Health System, Elk Grove Village, IL. Robert L. Strawderman, Sc.D., is with the Department of Biometrics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Jane Banaszak-Holl, Ph.D., and Dean G. Smith, Ph.D., are with the Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health.


Objective. To develop a Standardized Donor Ratio (SDR) as an outcome measure for evaluating the effectiveness of organ procurement organizations (OPOs).

Data Sources/Study Setting. All deaths by cause in the United States during 1993–1994 as reported in the Vital Mortality Statistics, Multiple Cause of Death files. The OPO-specific data were provided by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Study Design. Each OPO's expected number of donors was calculated by applying national donation rates to deaths with potential for donation in 24 age, sex, and race cells. The SDR was calculated by dividing the observed number of donors by the expected number. The X2 tests of the hypothesis that the OPO's performance differed from the national norm of 1.0 were performed. The SDR was compared to the existing performance standard based on the unadjusted number of donors per million live population in the OPO's service area. An ordinary least squares (OLS) regression assessed predictors of the SDR.

Principal Findings. The SDRs ranged from 0.41 to 1.99. Twenty-nine of 64 OPOs had SDRs significantly different than 1.0. The SDRs were positively associated with the percent of white living population and the number of organ types transplanted per transplant center served by the OPO.

Conclusions. The SDRs can be used by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), UNOS, and OPOs to target quality improvement initiatives, present more accurate comparisons of OPO performance, and develop public policy on the evaluation of the effectiveness of organ procurement efforts.