Monitoring Policies Adopted by Hospitals

Ralph A. Epstein, M.D

Useful in Getting Equipment

by Ralph A. Epstein, M.D.

In November, 1985, the chiefs of anesthesiology of the 13 hospitals of the Capital Area Health Consortium in northern Connecticut agreed that there should be a uniform policy for oxygenation and C02 (ventilation) monitoring. The 13 hospitals in the group vary in size from less than 100 to more than 800 beds, including one small university hospital.

At the time of the meetings, some of the hospitals were just beginning to contemplate introduction of such non-invasive monitoring while others already had it in place for at least some of their patients. Despite this heterogeneity, it was unanimously voted “to adopt a standard of monitoring care for anesthesia patients to include the following:

0 Pulse Oximetry be available to every patient receiving any general or regional anesthetic.

9 Capno8raphy be available to every patient receiving general anesthesia.

o Pulse Oximetry be available to every patient recovering in a post-anesthetic recovery area.

e Capnography be available to every patient being mechanically ventilated in a post-anesthetic recovery area.”

The minutes of these meetings are routinely distributed to the chief executive officers of all the member hospitals. There is now a consensus among the anesthesiology chiefs that the action one year ago has significantly increased their ability to convince their respective hospitals of the importance of such equipment for patient safety in anesthesia.

Dr. Epstein is Professor and Chairman, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Connecticut and a member of the Newsletter Editorial Board.