Features  |   June 2016
Brain Health Initiative: A New ASA Patient Safety Initiative
Author Affiliations
  • Lee A. Fleisher, M.D.
    Ad Hoc Committee on Brain Health Initiative
Article Information
Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems / Patient Safety / Features
Features   |   June 2016
Brain Health Initiative: A New ASA Patient Safety Initiative
ASA Monitor 06 2016, Vol.80, 10-11.
ASA Monitor 06 2016, Vol.80, 10-11.
Anesthesiology has both claimed and been lauded for being the specialty that first focused on the issue of patient safety, years before the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) report To Err Is Human was issued in 1999. In the second half of the 20th century, our leaders recognized that we placed our patients at risk through our own actions, and that developing systems of care, including checklists, could lead to lower risk and better outcome. In fact, the Institute of Medicine report and others claimed that anesthetic-related morbidity and mortality improved to the point that anesthesia was safe. While our specialty did lead other specialties in efforts to improve patient safety, many other specialties have refocused their efforts, including on reducing complications using wider definitions for areas in which they are accountable. Importantly, surgical patients continued to have high rates of morbidity and mortality, and work over the past several decades has made it clear that actions taken by anesthesiologists can improve perioperative outcomes, particularly when we expand the definition of anesthesia-related complications to include joint accountability for all surgical outcomes. As a means of focusing our attention on an area in which our leadership can result in improved patient outcome, ASA President Daniel Cole, M.D., proposed a new patient safety initiative – the Brain Health Initiative.
1 Comment
June 4, 2016
C. Philip Larson
Stanford University, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Postop cognitive dysfunction

Hi, Lee: 

Thank you for the very informative article. At 82, I just underwent 6-plus hours of general anesthesia for an ablation. No postop cognitive changes, fortunately. So it doesn't happen to everyone! 

Best regards, 

Phil Larson

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