Anesthesia Techs Hold Annual Meeting in SF

Dennis McMahon

The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) held its second annual meeting on October 27 and 28, concurrently with the ASA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Attendance at the ASATT conference exceeded the capacity of the facilities at the Hilton and reflected the growth of & Society from its charter membership of about I 00 one year ago to the present roster of almost 500. Lectures were given on technical subjects such as autotransfusion, pharmacology, blood pressure measurement techniques, and the prevention of anesthesia mishaps, as well as reports on the evolving role of the anesthesia technologist.

The ASATT was formed two years ago as an educational organization whose goal is the standardization of the training and skills of anesthesia technical personnel i.e. those who support, but do not perform, anesthesia patient cam The Society is governed by four elected officers, an executive director, and a Board of Directors representing each of seven regions of the country. It is intended as a national network for individual technicians, as well as for the many state and regional societies of anesthesia technologists that have formed within the past decade. There are currently active societies in eight areas, with interest in other regions.

A quarterly newsletter, The Sensor, provides news of technician activities in various regions, cites recent articles in the anesthesia and biomedical literature that are pertinent to anesthesia technologists, and reports progress toward the standardized training and certification of these personnel. Currently, comprehensive training for anesthesia technologists is almost entirely in-house, and there is no nationally recognized certification.

Both safety and efficiency in anesthesia care are enhanced by knowledgeable support personnel. Well trained technicians who understand the theory and practical application of the technology that they deal with will provide an added line of defense against critical incidents in the OR. In addition to indirect support functions, proficient technologists can expedite the logistics of patient care by setting up equipment and accessories before procedures, as well as assisting with specific intra-operative functions. Toward that end, the focus of the leadership this coming year will be to reinforce the activity of regional societies, increase membership, and develop the training guidelines written by the Society last summer. The guidelines, in a modular format, are currently bang reviewed by the ASA Anesthesia Care Team Committee and a committee of the AANA, and will be refined by next June. They are intended as a reference for clinicians responsible for the in-service education of their department technical staff, as well as for those proposing to offer a formal training program for anesthesia technologists. As another educational approach, the ASATT now has a complete set of the APSF/ASA Patient Safety videotapes, for loan to members for use in departmental in-services, or at regional technician society meetings.

Anesthesia clinicians who would like to foster education for their technical support personnel are invited to contact the ASATT: 9805 N.E. 116th Street, #A183, Kirkland, WA 98034; (800) 352-3575.

Mr. McMahon of the Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, is the current president of the ASATT.