TeleHealth programs

Organ donation: The gift of life

Northwell Health collaborates with LiveOnNY, its organ procurement organization (OPO), to provide support for potential donor families and ensure the best outcome for families, organ donors and patients waiting for the gift of a lifesaving organ transplant.

In total, there were 33 solid organ donors who donated a total of 108 organs for transplant in 2019. The hospitals also had more than 87 tissue donors giving tissues such as eyes, bone, skin, veins and heart valves. This success can be attributed to major initiatives in the ED as well as an increase in the timeliness of tissue referrals from 83.1 percent (2018) to 86.1 percent (2019) as shown.

Nursing staff plays a critical role in the organ and tissue donation process, and education for those nurses is the foundation on which a successful donor program is built. In 2018, Northwell Health, in partnership with LiveOnNY, launched a Donor Nurse Champion (DNC) program with the mission of creating highly educated champions who can assist with the organ and tissue donation process.

Since its inception, 206 nurses spanning 14 hospitals completed the Donor Nurse Champion Program.

Increasing and expanding options for candidates awaiting lifesaving kidney transplants

Organ transplant at Northwell Health consists of fi ve programs: Adult Kidney, Pediatric Kidney, Adult Heart, Adult Auto Islet and, in 2019, the addition of Adult Liver Transplant. With the gift of life from organ donors and their families, the number of donors and transplants performed at Northwell Health has steadily increased.

One area with signifi cant increase in volume is the living donor kidney transplant program. A programmatic re-design was initiated in 2016 and over the next three years, there were signifi cant improvements in volume, outcomes and long-term follow-up of living donors to ensure safety and health as shown.

Programmatic changes drove volume from 10 kidney transplants in 2016 to 43 successful transplants in 2019 — a four-fold increase.

Responding to the opioid and substance use epidemic

Emergency departments (EDs) serve communities in times of crisis; however, the current prevalence of substance use issues, substance use disorders (SUDs) and overdoses have put a strain on the traditional ED setting. For patients with high-risk substance use, there is a systematic absence of comprehensive discharge planning and continual support. To address this gap, Northwell Health, in collaboration with a community-based organization (CBO), developed Project CONNECT, an external navigation service specialized for patients with SUDs to provide ongoing support.

CBO staff provide referrals to all levels of substance use treatment, family support, applications for social services, referrals to primary care, domestic violence support services and coordination with the criminal justice system.

Measures of success include enrollment, connection with patients at baseline, and engagement in care rates at predetermined time periods (7, 30, 60, 90 and 120 days). Based on the success of the initial ED pilot sites, Project CONNECT was expanded to the EDs at one community hospital and one tertiary care hospital.