Poking For Organs, Ctd

Surgeon Andrew Cameron wants to develop an app that “will offer a ‘template’ for those in need of organs to tell their story, and will allow potential donors to link directly to the transplant center for further information, or to share the story with their Facebook circle”:

Cameron started thinking about the link between Facebook and organ transplantation in 2011, when his former Harvard classmate Sheryl Sandberg … approached him about whether Facebook could help to reduce the organ-donor shortage. On May 1, 2012, Facebook added an option that allowed users to “share” organ-donor status on their timelines, with a link to their state online donor registry. In a study published this June in the American Journal of Transplantation, Cameron and his colleagues reported that on that day, online organ-donor rates soared to twenty-one times the usual level. Registration declined in the following days, but, even two weeks later, remained double what they were before.

For Cameron, this was a powerful lesson, suggesting that social networking might be the tool needed to address what he describes as the “refractory” public-health problem of inadequate organ-donor numbers. “We have the tools. It’s on us to effectively mobilize them,” he said.

Dish coverage of Facebook’s donor initiative here.