APSF Endorses Use of Automated Record Keepers

The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation initiative on perioperative data management took a major step forward when, at the American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting in New Orleans in October 2001, the APSF Board of Directors unanimously approved the following motion:

"The APSF endorses and advocates the use of automated record keeping in the perioperative period and the subsequent retrieval and analysis of the data to improve patient safety."

This endorsement is an extension of the process that began at the APSF Board of Directors Retreat at the ASA Annual Meeting in October 2000. At that retreat numerous speakers described the state of the technology, current challenges and solutions, and the importance of perioperative data collection and analysis. The presenters included Dr. Jeff Cooper (Massachusetts General Hospital), Dr. Matt Weinger (University of California, San Diego), Ms. Lori Cross (Datex-Ohmeda), Mr. Ruben Derderian (North American Dräger), Dr. Chester Phillips (formerly Agilent, currently Philips Medical Systems), Dr. Charles McLeskey (Abbott Laboratories), Dr. Terri Monk (University of Florida), Dr. Dave Schlotterbeck (Alaris Medical Systems), and Dr. Robert Caplan (Virginia Mason Clinic and University of Washington). The process continued throughout this past year, highlighted by a special issue of the APSF Newsletter dedicated to the role of information systems in anesthesia patient safety (2001;16(2):21-30).

To emphasize the value of real-time automated record keeping the APSF Board of Directors also conducted a Workshop at the most recent ASA meeting (see accompanying review by Dr. Cooper) which demonstrated that review of conventional handwritten records can be grossly inadequate when attempting to reconstruct details leading to an adverse event. This was illustrated by a mock morbidity and mortality conference during which the value of a real-time automated record became strikingly clear.