Volume 6, No. 2 • Summer 1991

STA Flourishes, Stages Meetings, Expands Scope

N. Ty Smith, M.D.

The Society for Technology in Anesthesia (STA) continues to grow and to experience exciting times; the future holds even more promise. Following is one perspective of the past, present and future of STA.

STA’s first annual Scientific Meeting was a smashing success, despite the onset of the Persian Gulf conflict the day before attendees were due to arrive in Orlando. Even with last minute concellations, over 170 attended the meeting, and they all enjoyed the science and the ambience. The tutorials and panels were very well received, the audience acting as if they were riveted to their chairs. The highlight of the meeting was the STA Sapcelabs Distinguished Lecture presented by Dr. Richard J. Kitz, Professor of Anaesthesia, and Codirector of the combined Harvard Medical School MIT Health Sciences Technology program. Dr. Kitz outlined the status of medical technology, and proceeded to lay down some challenges for STA in the ’90s. STA has already begun to respond to one of those challenges, by forming a task force to examine the need to “identify and promulgate the information and experience each resident ought to acquire concerning the technology he uses.” The Board of Directors decided to put together a position paper that would describe in some detail what this body of knowledge should be. In charge of the task force assembled to attack this challenge are Drs. Wes Frazier and Jim Philip. Those interested in helping with this important function can contact either Wes or Jim. Dr. Kitz’s full presentation will be published in the Journal of Clinical Monitoring.

There were several major reasons for the success of STA ’91. Good speakers came through with outstanding material. The scientific presentations were well done and exciting. But most of all, we were able to keep the registration fee low because of the generosity of our sponsors and friends. These generous patrons include STA’s Founding Sponsor, Diatek, Inc. and Corporate Sponsor Spacelabs, as well as Meeting Sponsors Anaquest, Applied Biometrics, Becton-Dickinson, Datex, Deseret, Dragerwerk, Fiberoptic Sensor Technologies, IVAC, Kendall Health Products, Medasonics, Nellcor, Organon, Ohmeda, and VIA Medical.

Both of the tours emphasized technology, and were well received: the behind the scenes NASA tour and a special tour at the Epcot Center, arranged by Dr. Ira Rampil.

Upcoming Meetings

Pleased with the success of its three recent meetings, STA is already planning for its future meetings. STA ’92 will be held in San Diego on January 30-February 1, 1992. The venue will be & U.S. Grant Hotel, an historical site and beautifully renovated. It is dose to most of San Diego’s major attractions, as well as to Tijuana, either by walking or by easily accessible public transportation. Dr. Jerry Calkins is in charge of the meeting, and some very exciting plans have already been laid. The theme will be Decision Making in Anesthesia, and the Anesthesia Workstation. In addition to scientific sessions, panels, and tutorials, there will be a cracker-barrel type session, where participants can meet on an informal basis with “experts” The most fun will be an extemporaneous dew where several eloquent and quick-witted experts will debate a topic without knowing until the last minute what the topic is and how the Warm will be composed. Tentative plans for a spouses’ program include a reception, a hospitality suite, a party, shopping, sightseeing, and CPR instruction. Spouses will also attend the dinner and the Distinguished Lecture. Dr. Reyn Saunders will be in charge of this program. Tours may include the Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, Sea World, Old Town, and Horton Plaza.

Dr. Jim Philip will be in charge of the Scientific Session for STA ’92. The format for the Scientific Session will be poster presentation of all abstracts preceded by three minute (four-slide maximum) verbal presentations to the assembled audience. Those who wish to present at STA ’92 should call 617-732-7330 or FAX 617-732-6798. Abstract forms and information will be available later in the Spring. THE DEADLINE FOR THE ABSTRACT IS AUGUST 1, the same as last year. As before, presentors are encouraged to demonstrate their software, systems, devices, displays, or clever ideas. As before, we ask that commercial products be demonstrated at the industrial exhibits.

Companies are encouraged both to help sponsor the meeting and to exhibit at it. The Grant has a large room for industrial exhibits. Those wishing to exhibit should contact Ms. Kuzava. Exhibitors are encouraged to attend the sessions and to visit the poster presentations.

The STA Breakfast Panel will be in its third year at & ASA Meeting in San Francisco. In charge of this panel is the Chairman of STA’s Education Committee Alan Grogono, who will also moderate the panel. The topic will be “When the lights Go Out.” Dr. Sandy Eames will talk about Power Distribution and Backup, or “The New York City Blackout.” Dr. David Paulus will discuss the “Anatomy of Some Failures.” while Dm Jeff Feldman and David Cullen will describe their experiences of “Working in the Dark.” Dr. Reynolds Saunders will assure us that these new fangled electronic anesthesia machines will indeed work in these situations, and Dr. Arthur Yeats will enlighten us on how to educate and prepare all of us for this potentially uncomfortable scenario. Finally, the audience will be invited to join in, with the titles “We’ve been in the dark too” and “What would we do?”

Thanks to the resounding success of the Alarming Dinner at last year’s ASA Meeting, the increasingly popular STA Dinner will be repeated this year, with an entertaining and informative speaker from an important area such as human factors. Reserve 1830 on Sunday evening, October 27 for another entertaining and educational evening.

Tentative plans have already been laid for STA ’93. These plans call for STA ’93 to take place in New Orleans in May, during either Mardi Gras or the Jazz Festival.

Speaking of meetings, there is still time to attend the 6th ISCAIC in Hamamatsu. Please be reminded that our hosts at that meeting have done everything possible to make the meeting riot only outstanding scientifically and educationally, but also as affordable as possible for those from other countries. In addition, several airlines have opened new west coast routes to Japan, and the flights are available for about $ 1,000. Those interested in attending should contact Dr. Kazuyuki Ikeda, Chairman of the Organizing Committee


The STA newsletter (INTERFACE) has had a true jump start, and a smashing one at that, under the inspiring leadership of Jeff Feldman. We want to emphasize that the APSF and STA newsletters complement each other. One takes a broad approach, gathering together any information to do with patient safety. INTERFACE emphasizes the impact of technology good or bad on patient safety. Several features in INTERFACE have already attracted considerable attention. For example, “The Devil’s Advocate’ column allows members to speak their piece on a controversial topic behind the safety mask of anonymity. The first two topics were “Agent Specific Analysis” and “How To Solve the Alarms Problem: Think Japanese!” In addition, the “Perspective on Technology” column allows a representative each from the manufacturer’s side and from the users’ side to present their views on a timely topic. An upcoming feature of INTERFACE will be the publishing of abstracts translated from other languages, often from small meetings or hard to find American Societies, or of the Life Support Technology Society (Japan), you may obtain a copy by contacting Gerri Kuzava. In addition, those wishing to contribute to The Devil’s Advocate may contact Ms. Kuzava, who wig pass the information on to the column editor. Those wishing to contribute to Perspectives on Technology or to submit abstracts forms in other languages should contact Dr. Jeff Feldman directly.

What You Can Do To Help

Our original assessment on the life blood of STA still holds the individual member is incredibly important to STA. Please participate in the He of STA. Your ideas are always welcome. Would you like to help with any of the committees? Do you have any suggestions for future directions? Please contact any member of the STA Board of Directors.

Dr. Smith, San Diego is an APSF Director and President, STA.