The Relationship Between Verified Organ Donor Designation and Patient Demographic and Medical Characteristics
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Previous studies on the correlates of organ donation consent have focused on self-reported willingness to donate and on self-reported medical suitability to donate. However, these may be subject to social desirability bias and inaccurate assessments of medical suitability. The authors sought to overcome these limitations by directly verifying donor designation on driver's licenses and by abstracting comorbid conditions from electronic health records. Using a cross-sectional study design, they reviewed the health records of 2070 randomly selected primary care patients at a large urban safety-net medical system to obtain demographic and medical characteristics. They also examined driver's licenses that were scanned into electronic health records as part of the patient registration process for donor designation. Overall, 943 (46%) patients were designated as a donor on their driver's license. On multivariate analysis, donor designation was positively associated with age 35-54 years, female sex, nonblack race, speaking English or Spanish, being employed, having private insurance, having an income >$45 000, and having fewer comorbid conditions. These demographic and medical characteristics resulted in patient subgroups with donor designation rates ranging from 21% to 75%. In conclusion, patient characteristics are strongly related to verified donor designation. Further work should tailor organ donation efforts to specific subgroups.