The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network monitors progress toward strategic goals such as increasing the number of transplants and improving waitlisted patient, living donor, and transplant recipient outcomes. However, a methodology for assessing system performance in providing equity in access to transplants was lacking. We present a novel approach for quantifying the degree of disparity in access to deceased donor kidney transplants among waitlisted patients and determine which factors are most associated with disparities. A Poisson rate regression model was built for each of 29 quarterly, period-prevalent cohorts (January 1, 2010-March 31, 2017; 5 years pre-kidney allocation system [KAS], 2 years post-KAS) of active kidney waiting list registrations. Inequity was quantified as the outlier-robust standard deviation (SDw ) of predicted transplant rates (log scale) among registrations, after "discounting" for intentional, policy-induced disparities (eg, pediatric priority) by holding such factors constant. The overall SDw declined by 40% after KAS implementation, suggesting substantially increased equity. Risk-adjusted, factor-specific disparities were measured with the SDw after holding all other factors constant. Disparities associated with calculated panel-reactive antibodies decreased sharply. Donor service area was the factor most associated with access disparities post-KAS. This methodology will help the transplant community evaluate tradeoffs between equity and utility-centric goals when considering new policies and help monitor equity in access as policies change.
Keywords: Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN); disparities; donors and donation: deceased; ethics and public policy; health services and outcomes research; kidney transplantation/nephrology; mathematical model; organ allocation; organ procurement and allocation.
© 2018 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.