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New technology housed at the Central Arkansas Library System's Main Library in Little Rock aims to help add Arkansans to the organ donor registry.

At a news conference Tuesday, city and state officials joined the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency in unveiling a new kiosk that offers speedy enrollment to organ, eye and tissue donor lists.

Every 10 minutes, Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency Executive Director Alan Cochran said, another person is added to the list of people who need a transplant, and close to 114,000 currently are waiting for organs in the U.S.

"That need's not going away," he said, adding that a single tissue donation can help more than 100 individuals.

The kiosk, which will be located on the Rock Street library's first floor, scans a driver's license barcode and instantly loads that information into a digital form.

With a few clicks, someone who isn't signed up to be a donor can give consent to be automatically added to the registry.

In a demonstration of the tool, a screen lit up with Gov. Asa Hutchinson's address and birthday -- Dec. 3 -- as he held his license under the scanner and agreed to be added to the lists.

He called joining the registry "about as important a thing" as one could do, and praised the 64% of Arkansas residents who "checked the mark" and said they'd donate organs or tissue.

"That means that 36% are not [signed up]," he said. "We want to challenge Arkansans for more people to designate themselves as an organ donor."

Founded as a nonprofit in 1987, the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency facilitates organ transplants in most counties in Arkansas and works to advocate for organ donation in the state.

According to information on the U.S. Department Health and Human Services' organ donation website, a national organ shortage has worsened in recent years.

The list of people who need a transplant has grown faster than the donor list, and most people don't die in a way that makes it possible to use their organs.

To remedy the problem, states have considered a variety of solutions, including opt-out policies which would automatically assume donor status.

Those tactics include technology like that employed by the kiosk, which is used to expedite donor registration in other states including Texas, Cochran said.

A mobile version of the software, which is made by tech company Countermind, can be run through a mobile device. Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency staff plans to use that tool at special events.

Additional kiosks also are planned for other area library branches.

The overall goal is to boost local donor rolls by 10 percent, which would push Arkansas' list of participants into one of the top 10 in the nation.

There's no timeline that's been set for achieving that goal, an Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency spokesman said.

At Tuesday's event, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. accepted the challenge of boosting donor rolls on behalf of Arkansas' capital city.

He described the area as a "health care corridor" housing the state's three transplant centers: Arkansas Children's Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Baptist Health.

Scott told the newspaper that he has not yet signed up to be a donor, citing personal reasons, but said he plans to do some research before deciding whether to enroll.

In his remarks, Hutchinson also touted Act 793, a law passed during this year's legislative session that will allow people to sign up as donors when they apply for a hunting or fishing license.

The governor stressed that everyone knows someone who may need an organ, and that technology such as the kiosk is "critical, in order to save lives."

"We have more to do," he said.

Metro on 05/15/2019

Print Headline: Little Rock kiosk will boost organ list

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