Purpose of review: The purpose of this study is to review the current state of large database research in anaesthesiology and to describe the evolution of the National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry (NACOR) in the USA.
Recent findings: The Anesthesia Quality Institute of the American Society of Anesthesiologists was created to develop a national anaesthesia registry for the USA. NACOR and the companion Anesthesia Incident Reporting System are now 5 years old and in daily use by hundreds of US practices. The 30 million cases in NACOR are an emerging source for 'big data' research in anaesthesiology.
Summary: The Information Age is bringing new capabilities for large database research to the specialty of anaesthesiology, driven by the formation of registries capable of capturing a large fraction of all cases performed.