Documenting a patient's anesthetic in the medical record is quite different from summarizing an office visit, writing a surgical procedure note, or recording other clinical encounters. Some of the biggest differences are the frequent sampling of physiologic data, volume of data, and diversity of data collected. The goal of the anesthesia record is to accurately and comprehensively capture a patient's anesthetic experience in a succinct format. Having ready access to physiologic trends is essential to allowing anesthesiologists to make proper diagnoses and treatment decisions. Although the value provided by anesthesia information management systems and their functions may be different than other electronic health records, the real benefits of an anesthesia information management system depend on having it fully integrated with the other health information technologies. An anesthesia information management system is built around the electronic anesthesia record and incorporates anesthesia-relevant data pulled from disparate systems such as laboratory, billing, imaging, communication, pharmacy, and scheduling. The ability of an anesthesia information management system to collect data automatically enables anesthesiologists to reliably create an accurate record at all times, regardless of other concurrent demands. These systems also have the potential to convert large volumes of data into actionable information for outcomes research and quality-improvement initiatives. Developing a system to validate the data is crucial in conducting outcomes research using large datasets. Technology innovations outside of healthcare, such as multitouch interfaces, near-instant software response times, powerful but simple search capabilities, and intuitive designs, have raised the bar for users' expectations of health information technology.
© 2012 Mount Sinai School of Medicine.