How can we evolve from transcribing anesthesia records to Digital Anesthesia Record Keepers? Who is driving the bus and why aren’t all anesthesia providers on the bus ?
Anesthesia monitors are equipped with ports allowing digital capture of vital signs displayed on the monitor. Data capture interfaces have been commercially available for years and routinely used in other industries ?
So why are the majority of anesthesia records still transcribed by hand when supposedly anesthesia was one of the first specialties to explore computerization of the clinical episode ? We need look no further than the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Duke, and many more renowned institutions who are “driving the bus” to make Anesthesia Information Management Systems (AIMS) part of the future of healthcare.
For the “Bus Driver’s” perspective, read this 2008 Journal Of Anesthesia article The anesthesia information management system for electronic documentation: what are we waiting for ? Their concluding sentence ” The challenge for the future is to develop a system that can be integrated across the rest of the hospital information network.” says it all.
Unfortunately this challenge has taken us on a quest that continues to elude us 30 years later. Instead of developing a standardized, user friendly, Automated Record Keeping (ARK) system, we moved onto AIMS and in the process left the overwhelming majority of patients and anesthesia providers off the bus.
Instead of focusing on eliminating easily automated tasks that anesthesia providers routinely perform for every anesthetic, allowing the providers to concentrate on their patients and the procedure, they jumped into “wouldn’t it be nice if..” goals, diverting research, money and attention away from the actual clinical application. In other words, they have failed, they became distracted and lost their focus.
Until anesthesia providers demand and support Digital Anesthesia Record Keepers that make record keeping easier and intuitive, we will continue to be left off the bus while the informaniacs continue their quest for “…an information network as a totally integrated system instead of an interfaced system…” and other informatic vagaries.