Features  |   February 2016
Leadership and Vigilance Essential as Health Information Technology Expands
Author Affiliations
  • Julian M. Goldman, M.D.
    Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology
Article Information
Education / CPD / Technology / Equipment / Monitoring / Features
Features   |   February 2016
Leadership and Vigilance Essential as Health Information Technology Expands
ASA Monitor 02 2016, Vol.80, 18-19.
ASA Monitor 02 2016, Vol.80, 18-19.
This issue of the ASA Monitor details the rapidly expanding importance of health information technology (HIT) to the modern practice of anesthesiology. HIT includes the use of electronic medical records (the anesthetic version of which are called “AIMS”1 ) as well as smartphone apps, data warehouses and tools for advanced data analytics. HIT offers the promise of improving the safety, quality and efficiency of current approaches to anesthetic care, while setting the stage for precision medicine based on genomic evidence and “big data” analytics.2 
Physician anesthesiologists are acknowledged leaders in patient safety. Our specialty has eagerly adopted technologies that held promise to improve patient safety, such as pulse oximetry and respiratory gas monitoring. As we embrace new technology for clinical care, we must, as the ASA seal underscores,3  remain vigilant, especially to the unintended consequences of technology-driven practice changes. In contrast to stand-alone technologies, HIT is inherently a pervasive system-level technology with effects (called “emergent behavior”) that are difficult to anticipate. The enclosed Monitor articles on “downtime” and “enhancements” address some of these challenges.4,5  A recent Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert focuses on the safe use of HIT.6 
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