As part of a major patient safety/risk management effort, the Department of Anaesthesia of Harvard Medical School, Boston, has devised specific, detailed, mandatory standards for minimal patient monitoring during anesthesia at its nine component teaching hospitals. Such standards have not previously existed, and resistance to the concept was anticipated but not seen. The standards are technically achievable in all settings and affordable in terms of effort and cost. Early detection of untoward trends or events during anesthesia will result in prevention or mitigation of patient injury; this, in turn, may also help counter the explosive increases in anesthesia-related malpractice actions, settlements, judgments, and insurance premiums. The committee process used is applicable to the promulgation of standards of practice for all medical specialties and any organized group of medical practitioners.