Electronic medical records that transfer digital data to printed charts are behind the times, says the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
Anesthesia information management systems (AIMS) can collect vital-signs data and collate patient information faster, better and more comprehensively than any provider could hope to do using paper records, write the authors of an ASA-issued white paper aimed at guiding providers who want to add the technology to their practices.
The white paper points out that AIMS result in reduced anesthetic-related drug costs, improved staff scheduling (and reduced staffing costs), increased anesthesia billing and capture of drug-related charges, and increased reimbursement through improved coding.
Regardless of how individual anesthesiologists feel about adopting the technology, notes the paper, the reality is that the government has stepped in and required its use by eligible professionals and hospitals within the next 5 years.
ASA President-Elect Jerry Cohen, MD, believes the healthcare industry is "near the convergence of capacity, technology, and necessity to mandate the widespread adoption of meaningful electronic records, including AIMS."
He suggests AIMS can become the foundation for data-based decision-making that drives quality improvement, better outcomes, greater efficiency, science-based practice guidelines, public policy and cost containment. "It is time to move forward," he says, "while our future is still in our hands."
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