Technology: Bridging The Gap Between Donor & Receiver

By Bruno Mastroianni, CIO, Center for Organ Recovery & Education

Bruno Mastroianni, CIO, Center for Organ Recovery & Education

Tackling Challenges Through Technology

CORE is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States. CORE works closely with donor families and designated health care professionals to deliver the gift of hope by coordinating the surgical recovery of organs, tissues and corneas for transplantation. CORE also facilitates the computerized matching of donated organs, tissues and corneas. At CORE, it is critical that technology just works every time just like other organizations. We have a very small window of time to work with our donor families in a very difficult time of their lives, work with hospitals, transplant centers and many other organizations and the technology must work. Our phones must be available, our applications must be available and easy to use, and technology must improve the work we do.

One key technology that is not currently implemented at OPOs that will change the way we do business is integration with Health systems and Health Information Exchanges. Moving to an electronic referral to send us data from a hospital instead of a phone call will improve quality as well as reduce delays and errors. It is also important for applications to become more mobile for our workforce. While we provide laptops for all of our remote workers, the ability to use phones to perform tasks not requiring lots of data entry are important for a mobile workforce. We must also focus on mobile tools to allow individuals that want to sign up to be an organ donor to learn more about organ donation as well as to easily sign up to become an organ donor.

"CIO’s not only manage the technology but manage the change required at an organization to effectively support  the adoption of the new technology"

Having a Competitive Edge

A significant portion of our workforce is mobile and having the right mobile device with connectivity is critical in our foot print. We cover 155 hospitals in the western half of Pennsylvania, most of West Virginia and a county in New York and when a team member is travelling to any of these facilities they must have access to their applications without the overhead of slow boot up times, multiple layers of security to login and get access to their applications.

Another game changer in our industry is an automated solution for signing up to be an organ donor. In Pennsylvania we have deployed wireless handheld units to our team members to enable individuals to register to be an organ donor without waiting until they visit the DMV. Individual states are starting to improve their online tools and you can register now in PA and WV. A new National Donor Registry has been introduced that allows individuals to be registered as an Organ Donor.

Charting Along Trending Technology

Data analytics and security are the greatest technology trends in all industries and especially in OPOs. For many years, organizations understand the importance of using data to make effective decisions. With the increasing amounts of data, it is important to make sure you have the right people on the team that understands how to analyze data and in our organization to save more lives. Not only do we need the right people, cost effective tools must be built to allow business owners to analyze data that we collect. Getting the right data at the right time to make decisions can be a challenge regardless of your industry but when it means the difference between saving a life or not it is imperative that we have the right solutions in place. The second and probably most critical issue that all CIOs must focus significant energy on is managing security. Given the complex technology environments that exist today with the significant increase in threats every day it is a very challenging time to balance time to help implement and support technologies to differentiate the business, support core infrastructure to make sure things just work when the users need it to work and to deal with the internal and external threats that now exist. Understanding what must be done from a technology environment for not only the technologies installed at the organization but the complexity of integration with any other business and their impact must be considered. A very complex time that will continue to become more complex.

Changing Roles To Elevate Technology

The role of CIO has changed significantly over the years from a technologist installing technology not always understanding the business. Historically the role did not have an active role at the executive level and was more seen as a utility. Someone needs more computers, needs an application installed; make it work without really understanding the true business needs. Today it is critical that the CIO learns the business and understands how s/he can improve the quality of the business with the use of technology.

Levitating Association Between IT And Business Function

In my role at CORE, I am expected to not only provide leadership to make sure the technology is performing as expected but I am leading projects that while they have an IT component require support to the business. I help by leading projects, assisting managers to build a unified team when deploying new products and defining workflows and accountability along the way for the successful transitions. CIO’s not only manage the technology but manage the change required at an organization to effectively support the adoption of the new technology. The CIO must be able to align technology projects with business value vs. just installing technology in hope that people will use it. It is also important for the CIO to involve business leaders and team members in decisions related to the technology anywhere from selecting laptops they will utilize to the selection of an automation system, are all critical to the success of IT.

Impending Apprehension Security

As already mentioned security is critical in all industries and must be a focus of not only the CIO but everyone. We all have a part to secure the environment. The CIO must help the organization understand the importance of having a security focus to the business. Business owners should understand the importance of product selection related to how it will perform for their business as well as making sure the products installed are secure and the vendors that are selling the products understand how to make sure the organization is secure.

Mapping a Learning Curve

Working at an OPO is very rewarding and requires an individual that understands the urgency required to keep a 24x7 life saving organization operational. We must balance decisions on what right technologies are needed for high availability with the right dollars needed as in any organization. Having been in this industry since February, I have learned that this is an exciting industry to be in. Technologies that will dramatically improve what we do are implemented in many industries so much of your time will be spent understanding these solutions and building relationships with other organizations to get the connectivity.

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