Volume 7, No. 4 • Winter 1992

President Reviews 1992, State of APSF

E.C. Pierce, Jr., M.D.

The year 1992 was another good one for the Foundation. An important continuing endeavor was funding for research grants in anesthesia safety, with some $175,000 given to investigators at three institutions. The awards were for examination of safety and risk factors associated with postoperative regional analgesia in pediatric patients; study of the effects of long work hours on the ability of anesthesia and surgical providers to monitor multiple sources of information, to learn and to retain information; and application of the technique of probabilistic risk assessment to develop a quantitative risk analysis model for anesthesia and to assess the effects of organizational factors in the risk of accidents.

The Newsletter continues to be the major organ worldwide for dissemination of issues of importance in anesthesia patient safety. With more than 50,000 copies distributed quarterly, it has been cited as the largest-circulation anesthesia publication in the world. In the last four issues, among many items, it reviewed patient safety activities at the ASA meeting, summarized significant articles from the literature, examined specific problems in patient safety, discussed the role that European ‘work stations’ may have in U.S. anesthesia equipment development, reported on one of the simulator systems that had been partially funded by the Foundation, analyzed whether anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists have a problem with equipment competency, and described the recent International Standards for Safe Practice, endorsed by the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists.

Simulators Supported

The APSF continued its strong financial support for development of anesthesia simulators, primarily at Stanford and the University of Florida. In addition to examining the operating room environment, interest will also be directed toward that of the post-anesthetic care unit. In an effort to reduce costs associated with administration, the Foundation has opened an Executive Office in Pittsburgh to be run by the new APSF Executive Director, E. S. Siker, M.D. This undertaking will consolidate nearly all of the Foundation’s activities in one center.

The APSF also provided partial funding for the June meeting of the International Committee on Prevention of Anesthesia Morbidity and Mortality as well as for a 1993 meeting on Human Performance in Anesthesia, co-sponsored by APSF and the Society for Technology in Anesthesia. The Foundation has begun an examination of the possibility of developing a nationwide confidential reporting system for collecting safety-related anesthesia events and established a CA-3 investigator award. A major event during the year was the convening of a Board of Directors Retreat in New Orleans preceding the ASA annual meeting. Some 45 members of the APSF Board and Committees attended the all day symposium.

Lastly, all of us on the APSF Executive Committee and Board appreciate the significant interest in the Foundation seen on the part of many anesthesiologists worldwide. As noted last year, other specialty societies and the American Medical Association continue to laud the anesthesia community for its leadership role in patient safety activities.

E.C. Pierce, Jr., M.D. President APSF