Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Facebook promotes deceased organ donation

Facebook Is Urging Members to Add Organ Donor Status

"The company announced a plan on Tuesday morning to encourage everyone on Facebook to start advertising their donor status on their pages, along with their birth dates and schools — a move that it hopes will create peer pressure to nudge more people to add their names to the rolls of registered organ donors.

"It is a rare foray by Facebook into social engineering from social networking, and one with a potentially profound effect, according to experts in the field of organ donation.

"They say people declaring on Facebook that they are organ donors could spur others to sign up at motor vehicle departments or online registries. But these experts say Facebook could create an informal alternative to such registries that could, even though it carries less legal weight, lead to more organ donations.
"That is because a disclosure on Facebook could provide the evidence of consent that family members need when deciding whether to donate the organs of a loved one, said Dr. Andrew M. Cameron, the surgical director of liver transplantation at Johns Hopkins Hospital."

And here's the Facebook page that explains how to do it (complete with instructional video): Sharing Your Organ Donor Status

HT: Judd Kessler, Peter Coles

At The Atlantic, Megan Garber talked to several economists:
Organ Donation Is a Market Problem -- And Facebook May Have Just Solved It

Here's what she had to say about her conversation with me:

"I think it's great news that Facebook is going to encourage people to register as organ donors, and (maybe as important) to communicate to family and friends their intention," says Alvin Roth, an economics professor at Harvard who specializes in, among other things, market design and game theory -- both fields he has applied to his work with ... kidney exchange "We need to be facilitating all sorts of donation," he notes, "if we're going to turn the tide on the shortage of transplantable organs."

"When I started working on kidney exchange," Roth told me in an email, "there were 40,000+ patients on the waiting list for deceased donor kidneys. Today there are 90,000+." And while kidney exchange "is winning some important battles," he notes -- among other things, it's currently the fastest-growing part of kidney transplantation -- "we're losing the war." There simply aren't enough suppliers to fill the demand. But the advent of online registries, like that of Facebook partner Donate Life, can change those dynamics -- and Facebook's social platform can, in turn, amplify them.   "

No comments: