The ASA Office of Governmental Affairs (OGA) has prepared a comprehensive brochure detailing the patient safety efforts by the specialty of anesthesiology. Entitled “FYI … A commitment to Patient Safety,” the twelve-page document is intended to be distributed to a wide audience, including state and federal government officials (such as insurance commissioners and legislators), liability insurance carriers, patient information groups and hospital administrators. The OGA has provided copies to each state anesthesiology society for their local distribution.
The printed brochure begins with a description of the specialty of anesthesiology presented in an easy-read, non-technical commentary. This is designed for non-physician readers and highlights the medical responsibilities of the anesthesiologist, the dangerous nature of anesthetic drugs, and the technological innovations which have propelled the specialty.
ASA’s initiatives to improve the quality and safety of anesthesia cam are summarized, including the peer review activities, patient safety videotapes, the establishment of APSF and the Closed Claims Study. These activities by ASA and others, such as the Harvard Anesthesia Risk Management Committee are the foundation for successful grassroots activities.
The state component societies of ASA are vital to the dissemination of risk management and patient saw initiatives. Further, of course, it is at the state level where these initiatives have yielded positive results with regard to the adoption of standards and also reductions in malpractice premiums. Therefore, “A Commitment to Patient Safety” details the precedent-setting insurance activities in Massachusetts, with additional information from Arizona, Georgia, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Texas. This companion provides not only useful facts and numbers, but ideas for how to proceed in other states.
Finally, the brochure reprints in their entirety the existing ASA Standards: Basic Standards for Preanesthesia Care, Standards for Basic Intraoperative Monitoring, Standards for Postanesthesia Care and Standards for Conduction Anesthesia in Obstetrics.
Copies can be obtained, free of charge, from the ASA Office of Governmental Affairs, 1111 14th Street, N.W., Suite 501, Washington, D.C. 20005.
Ms. Lang is Director, ASA OAC.