Volume 5, No. 4 • Winter 1990

Anesthesia Techs Form National Society

Dennis McMahon

Safety One of Many Benefits

In conjunction with the annual meeting of the ASA, the American Association of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) held its first annual meeting in Las Vegas, on October 21.

The ASATT was formed in late 1989 as an educational organization whose goal is the improvement and eventual standardization of the training and skills of anesthesia technical personnel i.e. those who support, but do not perform, anesthesia patient care. It is intended to serve as a nationwide network for individual technicians, as well as for the state and regional societies of anesthesia technologists that have formed within the past six years. Currently there are active societies in New England, New York, Ohio, Colorado, California, and the Northwest and them is interest in other regions.

Bylaws for the society were written, submitted, and ratified by the membership earlier this year. The society is governed by a Board of Directors representing each of seven regions of the country and four elected officers. At the morning session of the Las Vegas meeting, committees were formed to manage membership, meetings, elections, bylaws, certification, training, and publications. The afternoon session included technical presentations from anesthesia machine manufacturers, as well as a session on forming a technician society.

The principal focus of the leadership this coming year will be to increase membership and promote communication within the national population of anesthesia technicians. These goals will be met through the publication of a quarterly newsletter, beginning in January. The newsletter will provide reviews of current technology and new equipment, abstracts of problems with specific devices, announcements of meetings or seminars on anesthesia technology, and reports on progress toward the standardization of preparation and role of technical personnel.

Both patient safety and efficiency are enhanced by knowledgeable support personnel. Well-trained technicians who understand the principles and rationale for the technology that they deal with wig provide an additional line of defense against critical incidents caused by machines, monitors, or accessories that are out of tolerance, malfunctioning, damaged, or being improperly applied. Besides the traditional turnover of O.R.’s between cases, proficient support personnel can expedite the logistics of patient care by setting-up equipment and supplies before procedures, as well as assisting with specific intra-operative functions.

To insure continuity of patient care within the anesthesia community, liaison with the ASA and other organizations was also discussed at the ASATT meeting. At the meeting of the ASA’s House of Delegates in Las Vegas, a recommendation was approved from the Committee on the Anesthesia Care Team, chaired by I. Cary Andrews, M.D., recognizing the establishment of the ASATT.

Anesthesia clinicians who would like to foster education among their technical support staff are encouraged to contact the


P. 0. Box 22492

San Francisco, CA 94122.

Dennis McMahon, Virginia Mason Clinic, Seattle, is president of the ASATT.