New system is making the organ, tissue donation process easier at TidalHealth

SALISBURY, Md. – Tidalhealth Peninsula Regional is helping set the stage for other hospitals. They are the first Maryland hospital to use a new tool to streamline life-saving organ donations.

“There are patients waiting all across Maryland and the United States, and on the Eastern Shore alone there’s over 175 patients today who are waiting for that phone call, you know for a life-saving organ to be available,” Karen Kennedy VP of External Affairs and Education with The Living Legacy Foundation, said.

TidalHealth adopted an electronic health records system called Copernicus. This will allow hospital staff to notify The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland when they have a potentially life-saving organ or tissue donor in their unit. All hospitals in Maryland are required by law to notify The LLF, the organ procurement organization for the majority of the state, when a patient has met the necessary qualifications in their treatment course that open the potential for organ donation.

“Right now, in order to make that organ donation process take place a nurse has to spend 30 minutes on the phone with them discussing the situation to see if the patient is a good candidate for organ donation,” Dr. Mark Weisman, Chief Information Officer and Chief Medical Information Officer at TidalHealth said.

We are told that half hour phone call with The Living Legacy Foundation can take away time from being with patients.

“Staffing is challenging and so when we think about nurses and staffing and the level of acuity in hospitals, anything that we can do, which the system does, is to help them to be able to stay at the bedside and decrease the hours of workload associated with this important task is going to help,” Kennedy said.

But, TidalHealth is hoping this system won’t just be a game changer for healthcare workers but those who need organs and tissues as well.

“We don’t want any organs to go to waste so to speak,”  Dr. Weisman said. ” If we can help that organ donation process happen, then we want to make it as easy as possible. We never want it to be a situation where the care team is too busy they just can’t take the time out to speak with The Living Legacy team.”

We’re told this system was first adopted in New England at Yale New Haven where it’s said to have saved 470 hours of nurses time in 2020.

TidalHealth said they went live with the new system this week.

Categories: Local News, Maryland