Society for Technology Organizes, Plans Future

N. Ty Smith, M.D.

A new society the Society for Technology in Anesthesia (STA) has been recently formed.

Technology and patient safety are inexorably intertwined. However, the rapid changes in technology and in clinical standards have created a difficult situation for the clinician. We cannot observe, much less record or assimilate, all of the information that is becoming avadable. We therefore increasingly depend on technology to help as hopefully in the form of better anesthesia machines, ventilators and monitors. But using all of these new and complex devices has not been easy for most clinicians. Most clinicians have not been trained to deal with technology. Most engineers and technicians have not been trained to deal with clinicians.

The need for communication and education among those interested in medical technology is real. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has dealt with these matters m several ways, including a Committee on Patient Safety and Risk Management, a Committee on Standards of Cam a Subcommittee on Equipment, Monitoring and Engineering Technology, and diverse presentations at the ASA Annual Meeting, including scientific papers, panels, and refresher course lectures. The widely recognized Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation has managed to call the attention of the anesthetist to the role of terminology m patient safety, primarily through its newsletter, but also through other educational ventures. The journal of Clinical Monitoring has made it possible to archive and formalize the communication among those interested in medical technology.

A less formal, but still structured, means of communication is still needed, however hence the society. By setting up several different lines of communication, STA will allow a greater number of people to have a larger say in the progress of medical technology. It will also facilitate contact among those of similar interests.

6:00 A.M. Enthusiasm

With this in mind, a feasibility and planning meeting was held at the last ASA meeting in San Francisco. The fifty who were able to attend the 6:00 a.m. meeting agreed that such a society is needed. The enthusiasm for a new society was so overwhelming that an organizational structure was set up, including officers and a Board of Directors. These included President, Ty Smith; Vice President, Allen Ream; Secretary, Frank Block, Jr.; Treasurer, Alan Grogono; and Directors, Jerry Calkins, Bob Chilcoat, and J.S. Gravenstein. it was also decided that the relationship with the ASA would be one of mutual assistance and consultation. Those present at the meeting felt that STA should be 1) clinically oriented, 2) international in scope, 3) open to all interested parties, 4) have broad interests but a narrow name, and 5) welcome clinically, technically, and industrially oriented members.

Benefits Available

There are several benefits to the Society in addition to the opportunity to communicate with others interested in technology. These benefits include a newsletter, a subscription to the Journal of Clinical Monitoring, and access to the ICM Readers Group Bulletin Board, via the Delphi computer link. Access to the bulletin board will allow access to messages, announcements, news, computer programs, information files, etc. Those interested in further information on the possibility should refer to a description of the journal of Clinical Monitoring Readers Group. Block, E, On-fine telecomrnunications: The ICM Readers Group on Delphi. J. clin monit 2:140-141, 1986.

The interests of the Society are widespread and include all of the subspecialties of anesthesia and critical cam It also can involve anyone interested in medical technology. Accordingly, STA plans to maintain close relationships with other societies, either as a component society or as a parent to other component societies.

Events are already forthcoming for STA. Be sure to plan now for these, especially at the ASA Meeting in New Orleans, October 14-18, 1989. On late Saturday afternoon and Saturday night, October 14, there will be a Charter Member meeting that will feature an invited speaker, a discussion of the permanent by-laws, a discussion of future directions for STA, and related subjects. Those who join STA before or during that meeting will become Charter Members. Because we had difficulty contacting many of the people who will be interested in STA, we hope that attendance at the meeting will be more representative than that at the initial 1988 meeting.

Also at the ASA meeting, on Wednesday morning, October 18, there will be the Society’s first breakfast panel. The theme is a debate on who should take credit for improved patient safety the dini6an, the educator, the monitors, the APSF, the standards makers …

Further ahead is the first annual meeting sponsored by STA, to be held in 1990. As soon as a date and place are finned up, announcements will be printed in this Newsletter.

In spite of the restrictive sounding name, membership is open to anyone who is interested in medical technology whether exploring it, teaching it, learning about it, or exchanging ideas. If you are interested in joining STA, write or call: Frank E. Block, Jr., M.D.; Secretary, STA; Anesthesiology, N-429; Ohio State University; 410 West 10th Avenue; Columbus, OH 43210-1228. Also look for further information on STA in future issues of the APSF Newsletter.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or thoughts about STA, please contact any one of the Board of Directors.

Dr. Smith, V.A. Media Center, San Diego, is President of the STA and an APSF Director.