Anesthesiology Continues to Improve Patient Safety

June 8, 2021

Anesthesia Procedure

A recent report published in Anesthesiology News, “A Decade of Anesthesiology Data: Continuing the Journey Toward the Goal of Zero Harm,” highlights that the rate of claims per 100 anesthesiologists in the U.S. decreased from 4.9 to 3.2% during the period of 2010 to 2019. Anesthesiology had the largest decrease of any specialty during that time period. In addition, the percentage of closed malpractice claims involving an anesthesiologist within the overall number of closed claims for all specialties fell from 11.7% in 2010 to 8.0% in 2019. These findings, although an indirect indicator of anesthesia patient safety, suggest that the specialty’s downward trend of patient harm continues and at a rate faster than all other specialties.

The authors of the report are Marlene Icenhower, a senior risk management specialist for Coverys Boston and Maryann Small, a senior director in risk analysis at that same medical liability company. Their report, published in the May 2021 issue of Anesthesiology News (Volume 47; No. 5; pages 9-14), provides an anesthesiology-specific summary of data from a larger report, “A Call for Action – Insights from a Decade of Malpractice Claims” (; Burke A et al).