The biggest hurdle with organ donation today is the lack of organs. While transplants are no small feat from a clinical perspective, the healthcare system has the capacity to do many more transplants than are done today and thousands of patients die each year while waiting to receive organs.
Surveys have shown strong support for organ donation, but this rarely translates into even the most minor of actions. Many states have made organ donation as simple as checking the box on the back of a driver’s license and still few people take that step. The only approach that seems to work is presumed consent in which all citizens are organ donors by default unless they take steps to opt out. Unfortunately, this approach has gained little traction in the U.S.
The missing element just might be peer pressure. We’re willing to do all sorts of things that we’d rather not think about given a little nudge by our friends and family members.
We may therefore see some real progress this week as organ donation goes social. No, I’m not referring to Justin Beiber using Twitter to help a young woman in need of a lung transplant.
Facebook is putting its weight behind organ donation.
Facebook, in partnership with Johns Hopkins, added a new feature allowing its millions of users to declare their organ donation status. The declaration is a Facebook “Life Event” and therefore appears in the user’s timeline and is visible to their Facebook social graph.
In addition, Facebook has added an interactive feature directing consumers to the appropriate donation registry for their state.
To declare yourself a donor, select Life Event from the upper right corner of your Facebook timeline view, then select Health & Wellness followed by Organ Donor. Then follow the prompts from there.
It’s the hope of Facebook and Johns Hopkins that this move can help build momentum in donor registry to alleviate the organ shortage forever. So go out and personally sign up, and share this on your hospital’s Facebook page!