Effect of an iPod Video Intervention on Consent to Donate Organs

The gap between supply and demand for organ transplants is growing, especially among ethnic groups who comprise half of those on waiting lists but only 30 percent of donors. More donations by members of ethnic groups would improve the likelihood of matching tissue types.

These researchers developed a five-minute video to address common concerns about organ donation:

  • Not having enough information about organ donation;
  • Wanting to be buried with organs intact;
  • Distrust of the medical establishment and concerns that they may not receive adequate medical care if found to be carrying a donor card.

Researchers tested the video’s effectiveness on Whites and ethnic groups at 12 motor vehicle offices near Cleveland. Participants watched the video on an iPod with headphones. After obtaining their driver’s license they were interviewed and their donor status noted. A control group received information about organ donation only after exiting the motor vehicle branch.

Those who saw the video were more likely to consent to organ donation than those who did not (84% versus 72%).

Some 9 percent of participants said they were not asked by motor vehicle staff if they were willing to donate organs, a missed opportunity to potentially increase organ donation consent.