How do we know that we are doing a good job - can we measure the quality of our work?

Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2011 Jun;25(2):109-22. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2011.02.010.


There is an increasing demand for systems for measuring the quality of our medical work. In this article, we present a suggestion for how one can attempt to do this in a department of anaesthesia. It would be desirable to measure real clinical outcomes such as morbidity and mortality. However, such events are rare and not suitable for routine recording of work quality. Instead, we propose a system based on indicators of process quality and surrogate clinical outcomes. Surrogates may provide useful information if chosen carefully and checked for validity. We further suggest that such indicators be recorded routinely on every anaesthesia chart. The rate of the indicator can then be followed over time with the use of statistical process control methods. The foundation for such a system for measuring quality is the presence of a good quality culture in the department, with a good team spirit, communication and cooperation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesiology / standards*
  • Humans
  • Preoperative Care
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*