How Data Analytics Saves Lives through Organ and Tissue Donation at Mid-America Transplant

Published June 15, 2023 in Blog

Vikram did not have a clinical background or a connection to organ and tissue donation prior to working at Mid-America Transplant. His background in data science and analytics, however, helped position him to develop tools that would save more lives.

“Within my first two or three months of working here, I was told that based on the data I presented, they were able to transplant a lung that otherwise may not have been utilized. Somebody’s getting a life-saving gift because of a report I built. That’s a specialty that no other type of work can give you. It was a very special feeling,” he said.

Vikram has a master’s degree in both electrical and computer engineering as well as data science and has been doing data analytics work for the past 16 years. Prior to supporting the mission of organ and tissue donation, Vikram worked in healthcare data reporting and analysis for a hospital in Kansas City.

Employee headshot of Vikram, a Business Intelligence employee at Mid-America Transplant

Vikram, Business Intelligence and Analytics Partner at Mid-America Transplant

“When I got hired at Mid-America Transplant, I was already familiar with the language they use, and they have similar types of data, which helped prepare me for this job,” he said.

The job in question is to assist with business intelligence (BI), a newer department within Mid-America Transplant. This department is tasked with analyzing data to improve the number of lives enhanced and saved through organ and tissue donation.

“We look at the data to see how we can maximize organ and tissue donation so we can save and heal as many lives as possible,” Vikram added. “We’re looking at data with the goal of answering ‘where are we falling short?’ Or identifying patterns where we’re doing really well and asking how we can replicate those processes in order to achieve the ultimate goal of having organs and tissues available to those in need all the time.”

In addition, Vikram says his department works in tandem with the performance excellence team to see how they can improve. “They conduct performance improvement events where we look at our processes,” he said. “The BI team actually goes and contributes as well as learns so we can work on the data we collect and highlight any outliers or abnormal behavior. We look for anything that can be improved upon.”

Vikram, a business intelligence employee, works with Louie from the Performance Excellence team to improve processes. Vikram is holding two pink post-it notes.

The Business Intelligence and Performance Excellence teams work together to improve processes.

That goal of continuous improvement is nothing new for Mid-America Transplant, as the organization became the first organ procurement organization to be recognized with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award back in 2015. The organization won the prestigious honor again in 2021. Between 2003 and 2022, the Baldrige Excellence Framework guidelines helped improve the processes and outcomes to increase the number of lifesaving organ transplants by 153 percent and increase the impact of tissue donation by 340 percent.

After being in his role for only 13 months, Vikram has noticed the culture of prioritizing performance improvement. “We’re always looking for an opportunity to improve,” he agreed. “And sometimes we look at a process with different people just to bring unique perspectives to it.”

Vikram says one of the skill sets he brings to the table is not only to have the technical knowledge of how to acquire data, but also knowing how to present it to people. “Data without insights is simply a waste,” he said. “You have to be good at knowing those insights and presenting them in the right format.”

In general, the success of an organization like Mid-America Transplant is measured by the number of successful outcomes that help save a life. Leveraging technology like data analytics, then, can be lifesaving for so many more individuals.

Getting to analyze data for a living has always been Vikram’s goal. And although he’s worked for larger for-profit organizations doing similar work, he says the mission of organ and tissue donation simply can’t be beat.

“It’s a great work culture,” he said. “The mission is very special for sure.”


If you feel a calling toward organ and tissue donation, consider joining an organization committed to a lifesaving mission and find a rewarding career with Mid-America Transplant. View our current job openings.