APSF President Reports on State of the Foundation

Robert K. Stoelting, MD

As President of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) it is my privilege to report annually on the activities of he APSF during the calendar year. In that regard, I am pleased to report that 2000 has been an exciting and successful year for APSF as we strive to fulfill our mission that every patient experience optimal anesthesia safety during the preoperative period.

I am convinced that the APSF Newsletter, under the able direction of its Editor, John H. Eichhorn, MD and his Editorial Board is the most important source of current and important anesthesia patient safety information and issues, for all those responsible for delivery of anesthesia care to patients in the preoperative period as well as those who contribute to anesthesia from the corporate sector. The world wide circulation of the APSF Newsletter to more than 60,000 individuals, organizations, corporations, and institutions assures wide dissemination of important issues with minimal delay. It is vitally important that circulation of the APSF Newsletter to all involved in anesthesia care be sustained. In that regard, I offer my personal assurance to certified registered nurse anesthetists that I will not allow “political perceptions” to interfere with continued circulation of the APSF Newsletter to everyone who wishes to receive the publication. Current and past APSF Newsletter issues can be viewed on the APSF Web page (www.apsf.org).

During the past year a special issue of the APSF Newsletter was devoted to Office-Based Anesthesia. This vitally important anesthesia patient safety issue continues to demand our careful attention. Patients expect and should receive the same level of anesthesia care regardless of where the surgery is performed.

The November 1999 Institute of Medicine report cited that APSF as a model for efforts to help improve patient safety. The report noted that APSF is the pioneer organization dedicated to assuring patient safety. The most important feature of the APSF effort has been the elevation of patient safety to coequal status with more traditional aspects of patient care. The APSF supports the establishment of a National Center for Patient Safety but urges that it not become involved in the politics of regulating or financing health care. We also expressed our concerns about the advisability of mandatory reporting of serious events recommended in the Institute of Medicine Report. APSF is actively exploring options on how to help other specialty societies who may wish to establish their own patient safety foundations.

Sponsorship of patient safety research has always been a high priority for the APSF. In October, 2000, the APSF Committee on Scientific Evaluation, chaired by Jeffrey B. Cooper, PhD awarded three applications with funding up to $65,000 for each grant.

At the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in October 2000, the APSF sponsored a four-hour symposium on “Data Capture During the Perioperative Period”. Approximately 150 attendees representing academic anesthesia and industry were present. As a result of this symposium, APSF has formed two task forces to explore development of a “common nomenclature” to describe preoperative events and to study “legal issues” related to data collection.

Contributions from individuals, corporations, and national and state societies are vital for the APSF to continue its mission. The generous financial support from our Founding Sponsor, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, is critical for the continued ability of the APSF to provide education, research, and information related to anesthesia patient safety to everyone. All donors and their level of support are recognized in the APSF Newsletter. Your support is greatly appreciated. I believe you can be proud of the results of your financial support.

As in the last annual report, I wish again to reiterate the desire of the APSF Executive Committee to provide a broad-based consensus on anesthesia patient safety issues. We welcome comments and suggestions from all those who participate in the common goal of making anesthesia a safe medical experience. There is still much to accomplish and everyone’s participation is important and needed.

Best wishes for a safe and productive year 2001.

Robert K. Stoelting, MD President Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation