Ontario set a new record for organ donations last year that helped save more than 1,000 lives, an agency for organ, tissue and transplant donations said Thursday.
Trillium Gift of Life Network, which co-ordinates deceased donations in the province, said there was an 18-per-cent increase in organ donations from the year before.
Ronnie Gavsie, the president of Gift of Life, said publicly disclosing hospital donation performance has been “a game changer.”
“We have learned that you treasure what you measure and when hospital performance is made transparent, hospital performance has improved,” Gavsie said.
Gavsie also attributed the increase in donors to greater pickup by hospitals contributing to the donor system. Now the large majority of Ontario hospitals with a ventilator — only those who die on a ventilator can become donors — are part of the program, she said.
Ontario was the second province to launch on online registration system, behind British Columbia. Quebec and Manitoba now also offer an online registration system.
In December, the Canadian Institute of Health Information released a study that examined deceased organ donations across the country between 2008 and 2012. The study found that only 33 per cent of the potential donors among 100,000 hospital deaths became actual donors.
Ontario suffered a setback in its program last fall when Health Minister Eric Hoskins revealed a glitch in the online system had affected nearly 60,000 registrants.
The glitch was fixed and Service Ontario sent out letters to notify donors of the problem so they could re-enter their information online, but Gavsie said only 18,000 people have re-registered.
Some of the findings from Gift of Life’s report include:
• 1,569 Ontarians are on a waiting list for an organ
• 265 organ donors in 2014 helped save 1092 people, up from 225 organ donors and 992 transplant recipients in 2013
• 2,010 tissue donors for eyes, skin, bone and heart valves
• 3.1 million Ontarians are registered as organ donors
• More than 254,000 people signed up for the province’s registry last year
Donors can sign up for the registry at beadonor.ca.