Episode #1 Welcome to the APSF Podcast!

June 30, 2020

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Welcome to the first episode of the new Anesthesia Patient Safety podcast hosted by Alli Bechtel.  This podcast will be an exciting journey towards improved anesthesia patient safety.

On today’s episode, I introduce the new podcast and review the mission statement and vision statement of the APSF.


I also review the 12 Patient Safety Priorities of the APSF.


Before we jump into all of the exciting things that the APSF is currently doing for patient safety, I travel back in time and review the history of the APSF.


Finally, I introduce some of the APSF Board Members and Committee Chairs.


Be sure to check out the APSF website at https://www.apsf.org/

Make sure that you subscribe to our newsletter at https://www.apsf.org/subscribe/

Follow us on Twitter @APSForg

Questions or Comments? Email me at [email protected].

© 2020, The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation

Hello and welcome to the New Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation Podcast.  I’m your host, Alli Bechtel . In this first episode, we’re going to discuss the history and mission of the APSF, so you can get to know us a bit better. We’ll also talk about what you can expect from this podcast, and other ways you can connect with APSF online.

You may already know us from having read the APSF newsletter – this is published 3 to 4 times a year, and is filled with information to help you stay up to date on the latest in perioperative patient safety as well as to work toward improved safety of patients during anesthesia care. You can find excellent digital content at our website, www.apsf.org, where we publish our newsletter articles and much more. If you don’t already get the newsletter you can subscribe there as well. I will provide a link to our website and the information that we discuss in this podcast in the show notes as well.  We created this  podcast in order to bring the content of the APSF website and newsletter to you in audio form. You can listen while you drive to work or while you are taking a walk so that you don’t  miss a thing.

Here’s something you might not know about the APSF. We don’t have members and we don’t collect dues. We are an entirely donor supported, volunteer, nonprofit organization, and we think of ourselves as a big family – a big family that includes you! Please join us by subscribing to this podcast and connecting with us on social media. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Direct links will be in the show notes and at APSF.org.

Now, let’s get the ball rolling by discussing the APSF’s Vision, Mission, and Patient Safety Priorities.  Then, I’ll share a bit of APSF history, going back to the beginning, more than 40 years ago.

The vision of the APSF is that no one shall be harmed  by anesthesia care.

The Mission of the APSF, “to improve the safety of patients during anesthesia care by

  1. Identifying safety initiatives and creating recommendations to implement directly and with partner organizations
  2. Being a leading voice for anesthesia patient safety worldwide
  3. Supporting and advancing anesthesia patient safety culture, knowledge, and learning

The APSF is dedicated to 12 patient safety priorities including

  1. Preventing, detecting, and mitigating clinical deterioration in the perioperative period
  2. Safety in out-of-operating room locations such as endoscopy and interventional radiology suites
  3. Culture of safety: the importance of teamwork and promoting collegial personnel interactions to support patient safety
  4. Medication safety
  5. Perioperative delirium, cognitive dysfunction, and brain health
  6. Hospital-acquired infections and environmental microbial contamination and transmission
  7. Patient-related communication issues, handoffs, and transitions of care
  8. Airway management difficulties, skills, and equipment
  9. Cost-effective protocols and monitoring that have a positive impact on safety
  10. Integration of safety into process implementation and continuous improvement
  11. Anesthesia professionals and burnout
  12. Distractions in procedural areas

I will link to these in the show notes as well.  Now, this is a long list with some very big topics which we’ll cover in more detail in future episodes as we dive into more specific topics, news, and research.

Since this show represents the launch of the APSF podcast, I think it is fitting that we discuss the history of the APSF…let’s start at the very beginning if you will!!

If you are tuning into this podcast, you may already be aware that anesthesiology was the first medical specialty to put patient safety front and center. Did you also know that the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation was the first, independent multi-disciplinary organization that included practitioners, equipment and drug manufacturers, and other professionals who came together in the name of patient safety to help minimize and prevent adverse clinical outcomes especially those caused by human error.  We are trying to make medicine safer and our specialty has been recognized for our effort in this vital area.

Let’s travel back in time to the 1950-1970s when anesthesia care was associated with a mortality of 1-2/10,000 anesthetics.  At that time, even though anesthesiologists made up only 3% of all physicians and 3% of the malpractice claims, 12% of the medical liability insurance payout was from anesthesia-related claims. We started to turn the ship around after an important publication from Harvard in 1978 that reported on aviation-inspired critical incident analysis technique to better understand the causes of anesthesia-related injuries.

Following this, in the early 1980s there was more national media coverage of patient injury due to anesthesia accidents.  As a result, in 1984, the president of the ASA, E.C. Pierce Jr initiated a new ASA committee on Safety and Risk Management in order to address the causes of patient injury. Also, in 1984, Pierce and colleagues from Harvard held the first International Symposium on the Prevention of Anesthesia Mortality and Morbidity. This event was recognized as the first examination of anesthesia patient safety. This symposium led to the inspiration for the Anesthesia patient safety foundation.

In 1985, the APSF officially launched as an independent, nonprofit corporation with the same vision statement that we have today, “that no patient shall be harmed by anesthesia.” The foundation received financial support from the ASA as well as corporate sponsorship. The tradition of a board of directors with a variety of interests and careers including anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, nurses, manufacturers of equipment and drugs, regulators, risk managers, attorneys, insurers, and engineers continues even today.

I mentioned our well-known green and white newsletter earlier in the show. This is our quarterly Newsletter, but what you may not have known is that it is the largest anesthesia publication in circulation worldwide with dissemination news, research, ideas, and opinions all related to patient safety. Another notable aspect of the APSF is the research grant program which represented the first centralized research grant program for patient safety research and we are so proud of the patient safety investigators that continue to make an impact due to the APSF research awards program. The APSF is dedicated to education as well as research and the educational initiatives include book publications, co-sponsorship of large video tape series, hosting the “patient safety booth” at the ASA annual meeting, developing the APSF website and now, this brand new APSF podcast!  It feels good to be part of something so noble and special.

Throughout the 1980’s, anesthesia machine delivery devices and monitors were developed with newer technology to improve patient safety during anesthesia care.  By the end of the decade, APSF grant funding led to the development of the first patient simulators in the field of anesthesiology and in the years since then, the APSF has further supported the use of simulators for education, training, and research to continue towards our goal of completely safe anesthesia care.

All of these components, education, research, dissemination of knowledge, help to make up the culture of safety in modern anesthesia practice in which we now see a more systems-based approach to continue to optimize patient outcomes.  Through the hard work of the APSF and anesthesia groups around the world, we have seen a 10-20-fold reduction in mortality and catastrophic morbidity for healthy patients undergoing anesthesia. This is so awesome, but there is more work to do.  Equipment and systems failure in addition to human errors may still occur.  In addition, the current fight for patient safety is also up against production pressure combined with resource limitations in many hospital systems.

Recent work by the APSF has looked at integrating electronic anesthesia information management systems and audible alarms on physiologic monitors to develop advanced safety strategies including standardized terminology for anesthesia records and the development of an anesthesia outcome reporting system by the APSF Data Dictionary Task Force/International Organization for Terminology in Anesthesia committee. Other safety initiatives sponsored and supported by ASPF include safety of postoperative opioids and a call for continuous monitoring of oxygenation, recommendations to avoid exothermic reactions between volatile anesthetics and desiccated carbon dioxide absorbents, the need for technology training on new equipment introduced into the operating room, and medication safety in the operating room.

I hope that you will join me on the podcast as we follow the APSF’s mission towards zero patient harm during anesthesia. The APSF continues to be a model for innovative collaboration with the entirety of the anesthesia-related professions…and we are all working towards one goal à patient safety.

Before we wrap up for today, I wanted to let you know that you can find more information about the APSF Board Members and Committees on our website which I will link to in the show notes. For example, if you want to know who received the Distinguished Serve Award of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in 2013 and was the first non-MD to receive this honor, click on Jeffrey Cooper’s Bio!

Well, that is all the time we have for today.  Thank you so much for joining me on this journey towards improved patient safety.  If you have any questions or comments from today’s show, please email me at [email protected] Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or your favorite podcast app, visit APSF.org for detailed information and check out the show notes for links to all the topics we discussed today.  Until next time, stay vigilant so that no one shall be harmed by anesthesia care.

© 2020, The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation