US organ transplant network is outdated, insecure, report says

The nonprofit that operates the country's organ transplant system uses outdated technology and may be vulnerable to security flaws, according to a July 31 Washington Post story.

The United Network for Organ Sharing has "aged software, periodic system failures, mistakes in programming and overreliance on manual input of data," the newspaper reported, citing a confidential government review it obtained.

"When nearly 100 percent of hospitals use electronic records, the notion that we rely on human beings to enter data into databases is crazy," Ryutaro Hirose, MD, vice chair of surgery at the University of California at San Francisco and a former chair of the network's liver transplant policy committee, told the newspaper. "We could concentrate more on improving patient care."

The review from the White House's U.S. Digital Service, completed 18 months ago, recommended breaking up the network's "monopoly" on coordinating organ transplants.

Brian Shepard, the network's CEO, told the Post the government review, while still a draft, "reads more like an op-ed" than a research paper. He contended that the network's system is both effective and secure.

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