The Anesthesia Information Management System (AIMS) Research Group conducts practical research on improving perioperative patient safety and quality of care using electronic tools.
SAM (Smart Anesthesia Manager™) is a software package developed by University of Washington that works in parallel with an Anesthesia Information Management System (AIMS). The primary function of SAM is to provide real-time decision support and guidance to anesthesia providers. It obtains near real-time data from AIMS and finds issues related to quality of care, patient safety, billing and compliance. Ongoing issues are notified to the anesthesia providers with directions to resolve them. The notification is either in the form of “pop-up” messages overlaid on top on the AIMS screen or text pages. Additionally, SAM provides point of care tools to determine the correct billing codes, provide barcode confirmation of medications and facilitate safe patient handoff.
During a surgical procedure, an anesthesia provider performs the important tasks of keeping the patient safely anesthetized and physiologically stable. This involves concurrent real-time interpretation and execution of several steps in parallel, including adequately maintaining physiological parameters, ventilating the patient, administering anesthetic drugs and maintaining fluid balance –all in response to anesthesia (physiological changes), ongoing surgery (blood loss) and patient responses (heart function). To execute these simultaneous steps, the anesthesia provider has to efficiently and effectively capture and disseminate information from multiple devices and systems, and make rapid decisions and interventions that are based on best practice and evidence. In addition, the anesthesia provider also keeps documentation of patient care steps in an anesthesia record, which serves as the primary medical legal and billing document for anesthesia care. Due to the complexity of anesthesia care and the rapid-pace in an operating room, oversights and errors, such as delayed (or even missed) administration of needed medication or delayed correction of anesthesia problems, are not infrequent.
Real-time detection and notification of clinical issues has been shown to be highly effective in improving patient safety, quality of care, revenue capture and waste reduction by University of Washington and several other institutions. Real-time decision support significantly improves vigilance of the anesthesia provider in a high data velocity environment (Operating room) prone to multiple distractions.