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June 17, 2020

Opportunities and Challenges in Using Social Media in Organ Donation

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 2NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 3Department of Transplantation, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
JAMA Surg. Published online June 17, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.0791

The inability to persuade individuals to become organ donors has a cost in terms of human life. Thousands of patients in the US and worldwide on the transplant waiting list die every year before they can receive an organ transplant. Facebook launched in 2004, eventually becoming part of the powerful tool of persuasion we now call a social media platform (which includes Twitter and YouTube). Today, social media engagement by health organizations is haphazard, lacks clear strategy, and the evidence for its effectiveness is unconvincing. In our opinion, the prevalent giant-billboard model, in which one-size-fits-all messages are communicated to vast untargeted populations, must transform to a strategic, focused, and end point–driven approach, made possible by a deep understanding of the intended audience (Box).1

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