Archive Anesthesia 2017

7 Efficiency-Boosting Anesthesia Products

These solutions help you move patients from pre-op to discharge as quickly and as safely as possible.

Jim Burger, Senior Editor

ultrasound for regional blocks ON TARGET Reduced prices and better images have made using ultrasound for regional blocks increasingly attractive.

Perhaps no one in your facility has more of a hand in meeting the demands of an ambitious surgical schedule than your anesthesia providers. The more organized they are and the lighter their touch, the faster patients will be prepped for surgery and recovered for discharge. You can't cut corners in anesthesia, but you should be on the lookout for shortcuts — products and devices that save time and improve patient safety. Those aren't just fair game, they're opportunities no facility can afford to squander. Take a few minutes to reassess the performance of your anesthesia team. Are they taking full advantage of these potential efficiency boosters?

1. Ultrasound-guided blocks
One sure way to improve throughput in an ambulatory setting is to couple regional anesthesia with a reduced reliance on opioids for pain management. And one of the best ways to improve regional block placement is to use ultrasound-guided catheters.

A visual technology that was once expensive and grainy has become both much more affordable and much more efficacious. While prices have been dropping, imaging has improved to the point where trained providers can clearly see the tip of the needle and the thread of the catheter within the targeted space near the nerve, instead of having to rely solely on the unpredictable feel of anatomical landmarks.

William Landess, CRNA, MS, JD, corporate director of anesthesia at Palmetto Health in Columbia, S.C., sums it up best: "For more safe and rapid placement of regional anesthesia, ultrasound has become essential."

"And there's now plenty of evidence that ultrasound improves the efficiency of regional blocks," adds Brandon Winchester, MD, regional anesthesia fellowship director at Andrews Institute for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, Fla. "This is not a new concept."

The concept isn't new, but newer machines are easier to use. Add in features like touchscreen interfaces, smaller footprints and greater mobility, and the prospect of being able to repeatedly save valuable minutes while performing blocks is likely to make the technology a sound investment.

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