Trends in anesthesiology: Employing technology to reduce costs and manage information

by Olga Deshchenko, DOTmed News Reporter | August 22, 2011
From the August 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Managing information
In addition to managing costs, anesthesia providers also have to consider the best ways to handle their data. “We’ve never had a way to collect so much information, manage it, catalog it and pull it out for analysis,” ASA’s Bell said.

Anesthesia information management systems (AIMS) are currently the leading candidate to assist clinicians with this task. Research shows AIMS can help control and reduce anesthesia drug costs, streamline billing practices and contribute to improving patient care and safety.

And yet, the current AIMS adoption rate is low. Manufacturers estimate the technology’s market penetration to be somewhere between 10 and 30 percent.

According to Bell, less than 10 percent of hospitals and surgical centers are currently using the computerizing information management systems. “Right now, the use of these systems is relatively low as it is often cost-prohibitive for medical centers to purchase and maintain,” she said.

On a global scale, GE’s Rossi says the company is seeing an uptick in AIMS adoption, particularly in regions of Europe and Asia.

And Dräger’s Karchner says that U.S. adoption of information management systems will increase in the near future. The company projects that nearly 80 to 85 percent of anesthesia providers will be using AIMS in the next seven years.

At this point, academic centers are leading the way in AIMS adoption. According to a 2007 study in Anesthesia & Analgesia, 44 percent of the country’s academic centers already have or are planning to implement an anesthesia information management system.

Additional tech interests
While AIMS are slow to make their way into operating rooms, anesthesia machines with sophisticated ventilators and systems that are compatible with electronic medical records continue to be in high demand, according to James F. Ruggiero, director of biomedical clinical services with Mercury Medical.

Ultimately, providers are looking for devices that can help them efficiently analyze relevant data for quality improvement purposes and easily integrate with other systems in the OR.

In addition, anesthesiologists are interested in drug delivery devices that enable the delivery of a drug to a specific end point, like a level of consciousness, blood pressure or a specific medication dose, according to ASA’s Bell. “Research is ongoing in trying to define and understand biological systems that remain elusive and imprecise, such as consciousness,” she said. “This type of research will improve our ability to monitor this end point directly.”

You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment