Adoption of anesthesia information management systems by US anesthesiologists

J Clin Monit Comput. 2011 Apr;25(2):129-35. doi: 10.1007/s10877-011-9289-x. Epub 2011 Jul 5.


Objective: Electronic medical records (EMR) may increase the safety and efficiency of healthcare. Anesthesia care is a significant component of the perioperative period, yet little is known about the adoption of anesthesia information management systems (AIMS) by US anesthesiologists, particularly in non-academic settings. Herein, we report the results of a survey of US anesthesiologists regarding adoption of AIMS and anesthesiologist-perceived advantages and barriers to AIMS adoption.

Methods: Using the e-mail database of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, we solicited randomly selected US anesthesiologists to participate in a survey of their AIMS adoption, perceived advantages and barriers to AIMS. Two and then 3 weeks after the initial mailing, a follow-up e-mail was sent to each anesthesiologist. The study was closed 4 weeks after the initial mailing.

Results: Five thousand anesthesiologists were solicited; 615 (12.3%) responses were received. Twenty-four percent of respondents had installed an AIMS, while 13% were either installing a system now or had selected one, and an additional 13% were actively searching. Larger anesthesiology groups with large case loads, urban settings, and government affiliated or academic institutions were more likely to have adopted AIMS. Initial cost was the most frequently cited AIMS barrier. The most commonly cited benefit was more accurate clinical documentation (79%), while unanticipated need for ongoing information technology support (49%) and difficult integration of AIMS with an existing EMR (61%) were the most commonly cited problems. There were no barriers cited significantly more often by non-adopters than adopters.

Conclusions: At least 50% of our survey respondents were currently using, installing, planning to install, or searching for an AIMS. However, the strength of any conclusion is undermined by a low survey response rate and potential bias as respondents using or searching for an AIMS may be more likely to participate. Nonetheless, challenges exist for anesthesiologists considering AIMS adoption including cost. Furthermore, important questions remain regarding payment for anesthesia services and the relationship of AIMS and "meaningful use" as defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesiology / methods*
  • Data Collection
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Humans
  • Information Management
  • Management Information Systems*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / organization & administration
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States