Handling all the logistics, from the moment a donor organ becomes available up to the organ transplantation, that’s what Donation Application (DAPP) does. The company just received funding and the official green light to start a pilot program at the University Medical Center Groningen.
Last Tuesday, DAPP received some great news: Stichting Telematica Drenthe (STD) is very enthusiastic about the project and is very willing to fund DAPP. Furthermore, the team is in the final stages of receiving a possible funding from Stichting Triade as well. In addition, the Groninger Transplantation Center (GTC) offered full support in developing the concept. But there isn’t a lot of time for celebration, however. “Our pilot starts in 8 weeks and there’s still a whole lot to do”, founder Danielle Nijkamp explains. “But it’s so great that we can really roll up our sleeves after a whole year of pitching and developing the entire concept.”
The reason for the tight deadline of the pilot is the implementation of the Electronic Patient Dossier in September. “It has nothing to do with our project, but it means things are going to be extremely busy at the hospital, starting halfway through September”, Zareh Geertjes, co-owner of GeK and, together with Eds Keizer, in charge of the development of the application, explains. “We’ll be working closely with the hospital staff, because their feedback is vital, so we want them to be able to have the time before things turn really hectic in September.”
Letting medical staff focus on the real work
The moment a donor organ becomes available, a highly complicated logistical process is born. This process involves everything ranging from checking the compatibility, transportation, arrival time, making sure the right medical specialists with the right equipment are on standby, right down to making sure there’s a bed available at the intensive care unit. Every step of the process needs to be verified and reverified, which essentially comes down to a lot of phone calls between all the people involved.
Danielle worked as a transplant coordinator and project leader for 15 years, so she’s well aware of all the intricacies of the process and its problems. “Medical specialists and transplant coordinators spend hours on the phone, calling dozens of other specialists, just for the logistics and timeline of one single donor organ”, she explains. “It’s a really complex process, and because people’s lives are at stake, everything needs to be approved by a lot of different people. This is something that could be done much more efficiently, which is exactly the reason behind this application.”
Easy communication during a complex process
DAPP can handle the communication of a very complicated process of logistics, with an easy to use application. If something needs approval, the specialist in charge gets a notification and can approve or deny with the tap of a button. Everyone involved gets real time updates about the timeframe, who has to do what, whether updates have been read and approved by the right people and if the equipment is ready, all shown in a single, easy to understand timeline. “Everybody knows what everybody else is up to, which saves hours of phone calls and helps prevent problems and unnecessary delays”, Danielle adds.
“And because everything is logged and all the steps and decisions can be traced down for every single donor organ, you also get a lot of valuable data”, Danielle continues.
The pilot and future plans
For the initial pilot period, DAPP will only handle the liver donor process. “And initially also with anonymous patient data, because we have to make sure our application is totally safe to use first. There are a lot of legal aspects involved, because we’re dealing with very important private patient information.”
If the pilot goes well, Danielle, Zareh and Eds have some big plans for the future. “We’re going to focus on the donation process first and have as many hospitals as we can to use the application, not just in the Netherlands, but worldwide.” Danielle says. “But we can use the application for a lot more than just the donor process alone. It could be useful for anything medical that has a logistical and complex communication process."