Researchers from Queen’s University, Boston University, University of Toronto, University of Rochester, and the Secretariat of the Treasury Board of the Government of Canada have published a new paper in Marketing Magazine It tests a simple, cost-free intervention that can double enrollment rates, thereby helping communities gradually increase the number of potential donors.
The study to be released soon in Marketing Magazine, Titled “Increasing Organ Donor Registrations with Behavioral Interventions: A Field Trial,” authored by Nicole Robetail, Nina Mazar, Claire I. Tsai, Avery M. Haviv, and Elizabeth Hardy.
Current statistics on organ donation indicate an ever-increasing demand, yet the supply is insufficient from available donors. For example, in the United States, there are currently more than 113,000 individuals on the transplant waiting list and 22 people die every day waiting. The gap between those who need transplants and those who receive them is widening. With thousands currently awaiting organ transplants, the need for donors is urgent. One way to address the ever-growing demand is to increase the number of individuals who are registered to donate. While the vast majority of people support organization donations, many do not take steps to register.
Low enrollment rates are especially common in countries with explicit consent registration policies – that is, individuals must subscribe to becoming an organ donor – compared to countries with presumed consent policies – where individuals are virtual organ donors but can withdraw. Although some suggest that changing the default might be a promising intervention, the effect on actual donations was mixed due to, among other things, uncertainty about the deceased person’s donation preferences.
Moreover, changing registration policies includes implementation challenges and ethical considerations surrounding informed consent. So far, most jurisdictions have maintained their current policies, which raises the question, what can be done within explicit consent systems to improve organ donor registration rates? Previous research provides a good understanding of forecasters of organization donation trends and intentions, however little is known about how to increase actual registrations.
To address these limitations, the research team conducted a field trial in the province of Ontario to test behavioral marketing interventions that target altruistic information and motivations in an effort to increase donor registrations of new members in the context of desired selection. Besides the interventions, researchers have simplified the registration process (i.e., intercepted customers at the time of the decision, distributing promotional materials upon arrival to clients for consideration while waiting) and updated the design of the registration form to increase the relevance of their interventions (for example, a simplified form printed on cards using colored accents). .
“Our paper contributes to the limited guide to low-cost, scalable solutions to increase organ donor registrations within existing explicit consent systems,” the researchers say. “Our field experience demonstrates how customer interception can result in timely promotional material (information brochure and requests for taking opinions), side by side. Along with other improvements in process and design, new organ donor registrations have increased. Specifically, Tsai notes, “The best performing case, which stimulates the adoption of perspective through mutual altruism (“ If I needed a transplant, would you get it? If so, please help save lives and register today. ”) Significant increase In actual registration rates, from 4.1% in the control case to 7.4%, an increase of 80%. ”
They add, “We were able to do this without imposing on the freedom of individuals, or raising ethical concerns (ie changing assumptions), or passing new legislation.” They explain the potential impact of their findings, saying, “Assuming that everything has remained stable over time and we have delivered our best-performing interventions (mutual altruism) along with our operations and design improvements across Ontario, we can expect approximately 225,000 additional new registrations per year. Until one donor can save up to eight lives and support 75 others, such an increase could have a tangible impact on the lives of many. “
The research team concludes by saying, “By leveraging behavioral science to design our interventions, this research contributes to an understanding of how to reduce the intent and action gap in the context of organ donation, improve public policy, and enhance social welfare.”
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