Did you know there are 93,000 Americans on a waiting list for a donated kidney, but over 3,500 donated kidneys get thrown out each year?

That’s the result of a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, and a CNN article.

20% of all donated kidneys simply get discarded.

This is a failure in our medical system. A key culprit is the US regulatory regime, which throws out twice as many kidneys as do other countries, like France. A 2016 study found that 50% of the kidneys discarded could have been transplanted, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Another root cause is our transportation system. Donated kidneys are not promptly transferred to the patients in need.

But it is also an opportunity for our supply chain innovators. Can someone come up with a health care reverse logistics solution? This seems like a problem which our couriers, expedited logistics, healthcare logistics, supply chain technology, and reverse logistics thought leaders at UPSFedEx, DHLXPO and elsewhere should be able to solve.

What would a solution look like?

One idea is to create a geographic map, similar to what logistics companies use. You could start with a map of patients overlaid against a map of donors. In addition, you could create a network of couriers who specialize in expediting human organs and other high-value shipments.

In fact, this is similar to what transportation technology companies like Uber and Lyft have built.

As a result, you could slash the time from donation to organ transplant by as much as 90%.

Wouldn’t this be an ideal way to use our sophisticated logistics and technology to advance our social goals?

Benjamin Gordon, Cambridge Capital

For more information, see this article on CNN.

Published on Benjamin Gordon’s LinkedIn.