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Somethings doesn’t Add Up!

I have regarding the recent email sent by the Australian Organ & Tissue Authority (OTA) celebrating the outcomes of DonateLife Week.

First and foremost, I would like to express my appreciation for the OTA's dedication to promoting organ and tissue donation across Australia. The importance of this cause cannot be overstated, and I commend your efforts in this regard.

However, I would like to draw attention to certain discrepancies and challenges that have come to my attention. Last year, the OTA and the Minister reported a total of 60,000 new registrations during the same period, falling short of the projected target of 100,000. This year, despite an additional investment of $1,600,000* in the World Transplant Games, the email indicated that the achievement was only 50,000 new registrations. These figures, while significant, raise questions about the effectiveness of our current strategies.

What warrants further consideration is the net increase in registered Australians for both Consent and Intent Registrations during the same timeframe, which grew by approximately 19,450 individuals.

Even if we include the net increase in Registrations for June and August in the DonateLife Week reporting, the cumulative increase for the three months is approximately 45,000. 

I have previously raised concerns about the focus on Registrations as a performance metric. It is worth noting that when a person passes away in the appropriate circumstances, their family will be approached for consent, whether their loved one is registered or not. The only situation where they may not be approached is if the deceased had explicitly opted out.

While I acknowledge the complexity of the challenge we face, I believe it is essential to reconsider our approach. Continuing to allocate resources to campaigns that yield declining rates of registration might not be the most effective use of our efforts and resources.

Goodhart's Law suggests that when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be an effective measure. Therefore, it is crucial to assess our strategies and explore alternative approaches that may yield more favorable results.

I am fully aware that there is no silver bullet solution to this issue, but I believe that a thoughtful and comprehensive evaluation of our efforts is necessary to ensure we are making the most significant impact possible. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these concerns further and explore potential strategies that can lead to more meaningful outcomes with the OTA and others. (Especially if my data is inaccurate or incorrect).

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