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Vanessa Silva e Silva

Award: KRESCENT Allied Health Doctoral Scholarship
Institution: Queen's University
Year: 2018-2020

Study title: Determining the influence of processes, structure and inter-professional relational networks within organ donation programs in Ontario​

Background: To optimize the impact of organ donation and transplantation the nature and impact of complex organizational characteristics, such as inter-professional roles and relationships and the hospital organization’s structure and processes, need to be understood. We know that performance indicators vary among hospitals in the same province, even in the presence of common program structures and support. Therefore, the overall aim of this research is to understand and measure the nature and impact of relationships within the organizational context of organ donation programs in Ontario.

Methods: We will systematically investigate the interactions of the health professional network in the context of the organ donation process, and the influence of these interactions on the outcomes of Ontario organ donation programs by applying a social network analysis approach. We will also explore the influence of organizational attributes, processes of organ donation programs, and individual collaboration on organ donation performance amongst Ontario hospitals using a multiple case-study approach. Finally, we will compare similarities and differences of the influence of social networks and organizational attributes on the performance of organ donation programs amongst Ontario hospitals. Our study will include at least five trauma centre hospital partners of Ontario’s Organ Procurement Organization.

Expected outcomes: Our research will result in novel findings regarding the enablement of organizational attributes and processes relevant to organ donation programs. We will also determine the utility of applying detailed organizational evaluations to this complex process. Aligned with the Kidney Foundation's mission, our findings will guide the development of organizational interventions designed to optimize the organ donation process and corresponding outcomes. These interventions should, in turn, enhance the availability of organs for transplant and improve the overall organ donation process. The end result should be shorter organ transplant waiting lists, to the benefit of at-risk individuals affected by kidney disease or any other chronic conditions that lead to organ failure.