The American organ procurement system has improved and matured in the last five years. At the same time, the basic challenges facing it have remained substantially the same because the moral and legal framework of the system has not changed. Success at organ procurement continues to depend on the voluntary cooperation of medical professionals and the families of potential organ donors. The generosity of the American public is so great that the primary challenge facing organ procurement agencies is obtaining cooperation from hospitals and medical professionals. This calls for a “marketing” orientation aimed at those hospitals and professionals who are most likely to treat potential donors. The last five years have seen a more general acceptance of this appreciation of the central task of organ procurement. As a result, the overall effectiveness of the system has improved, as measured by the number of organs procured on a per capita basis and by the number of multiorgan donors obtained. Much of this improvement can be attributed to the diffusion of organizational techniques and approaches, and this diffusion has been encouraged by the involvement of national organizations and public bodies in the organ procurement community. The system remains uneven in its effectiveness and further improvement is possible. It is also possible that the next general round of improvement will result from the application of businesslike information management and marketing techniques.

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