A Data-Driven Social Network Intervention for Improving Organ Donation Awareness Among Minorities: Analysis and Optimization of a Cross-Sectional Study

Michael Douglas Murphy, Diego Pinheiro, Rahul Iyengar, Gene Lim, Ronaldo Menezes, Martin Cadeiras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Increasing the number of organ donors may enhance organ transplantation, and past health interventions have shown the potential to generate both large-scale and sustainable changes, particularly among minorities. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to propose a conceptual data-driven framework that tracks digital markers of public organ donation awareness using Twitter and delivers an optimized social network intervention (SNI) to targeted audiences using Facebook. METHODS: We monitored digital markers of organ donation awareness across the United States over a 1-year period using Twitter and examined their association with organ donation registration. We delivered this SNI on Facebook with and without optimized awareness content (ie, educational content with a weblink to an online donor registration website) to low-income Hispanics in Los Angeles over a 1-month period and measured the daily number of impressions (ie, exposure to information) and clicks (ie, engagement) among the target audience. RESULTS: Digital markers of organ donation awareness on Twitter are associated with donation registration (beta=.0032; P<.001) such that 10 additional organ-related tweets are associated with a 3.20% (33,933/1,060,403) increase in the number of organ donor registrations at the city level. In addition, our SNI on Facebook effectively reached 1 million users, and the use of optimization significantly increased the rate of clicks per impression (beta=.0213; P<.004). CONCLUSIONS: Our framework can provide a real-time characterization of organ donation awareness while effectively delivering tailored interventions to minority communities. It can complement past approaches to create large-scale, sustainable interventions that are capable of raising awareness and effectively mitigate disparities in organ donation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e14605
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 14 2020



  • community health education
  • minority health
  • organ donation
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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