Facebook boosts organ donor registration

Tools

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that a social media push boosted the number of people who registered themselves as organ donors 21-fold in a single day, they announced this week. To that end, the researchers suggested that social media could be a tool in addressing America's current stubborn organ shortage.

The increases were made in May 2012, when Facebook created a way for users to share their organ donor status with friends and also provided easy links to make their status official on state department of motor vehicle websites. The findings are being published in the American Journal of Transplantation.

"The short-term response was incredibly dramatic, unlike anything we had ever seen before in campaigns to increase the organ donation rate. And at the end of two weeks, the number of new organ donors was still climbing at twice the normal rate," study leader Andrew M. Cameron, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said. "If we can harness that excitement in the long term, then we can really start to move the needle on the big picture. The need for donor organs vastly outpaces the available supply and this could be a way to change that equation." Announcement