Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS


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This eBook is designed for anesthesia providers looking for guidance and methods to determine how to evaluate an anesthesia information management system (AIMS).

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Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS

  1. 1. A publication of TOP 6Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS
  2. 2. Share this eBook! Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS 2 Why Anesthesia Automation Now? Anesthesia information management has been seen as an area that was either difficult to automate or placed as a lower priority to automate versus larger projects such as computerized physician order entry (CPOE). As a result, many anesthesia providers are either still documenting on paper or were early adopters of systems considered incomplete by today’s standards. Today, however, a number of factors are driving hospitals to make evaluating Anesthesia Information Management Systems (AIMS) a priority, including: a reduction in anesthesia provider resources; strengthening reporting requirements; and mandates for the meaningful use of automated health records. RESOURCE SHORTAGES QUALITY REPORTING MEANINGFUL USE
  3. 3. Share this eBook! Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS 3 Resource Shortages: The Rand Corporation predicts a shortage of Anesthesiologists and CRNAs through 2020. While an AIMS cannot make up for a lack of manpower, it can help make the anesthesia providers you have be more efficient and satisfied with their work environment. Quality Reporting: Now is the time to streamline reporting for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and other initiatives such as Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) and the National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry (NACOR). The shift to pay-for-performance models is happening, and having an AIMS that can help you get to the data to demonstrate quality measures, both for incentives and to avoid penalties, is paramount. Meaningful Use: Finally, although anesthesiologists are able to apply for a hardship exemption from meaningful use that will prevent them from being penalized for not being a “meaningful user” of health information technology, CMS could revisit the exemption at any time. So why take the risk? We encourage you to educate yourself about systems on the market and on your organization’s plans for an AIMS. This eBook will get you started and help you take an active role in the selection process by giving you real data points you can use during the evaluation process.
  4. 4. Share this eBook! Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS 4 Quality Reporting Electronic time notations and other electronic anesthesia documentation has been shown to reduce the time spent gathering information from paper charts for reporting purposes by up to 50%1 . That time savings can be redirected to other tasks, or it may even mean the difference in a late night at the hospital vs. going home earlier. When selecting an AIMS make sure it is designed to allow you to export data to meet reporting requirements including PQRS and to take advantage of benchmarking opportunities like AQI. Many institutions are beginning to tie anesthesia pay to quality performance. If the reporting capabilities of a system are lacking, additional anesthesia man-hours may be required to rationalize reporting results. 1 Hobson & Company
  5. 5. Share this eBook! Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS 5 Ease of Use When evaluating for ease of use, an anesthesia provider should be able to walk up to a system and perform essential functions such as starting a case with little or no training. Consider the personnel within the anesthesia group who will be using the system. For example, an institution with residents will need to account for a learning curve each year based on the intuitive nature of the system – or lack thereof. In addition, the scope of anesthesia practice means there are many workflows for a single anesthesia system to service. While we typically think of anesthesia being provided in the surgical suite, anesthesia providers also supply services outside of the main OR. Many of these cases are short cases that may last less than five minutes. An AIMS should enable the anesthesia provider to quickly document that case through exception and verification so he or she can efficiently move to the next case without spending additional time finishing up documentation.
  6. 6. Share this eBook! Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS 6 Integration At some point in your evaluation process, you should list the data points you expect to need to document and have available for reference. Next to each of these points, identify who you expect to document these items and where they should reside in the medical record. Perhaps surprisingly, you should see a number of items that live both in various nursing records and on the anesthesia record. That makes integration critical since you don’t want anesthesia providers double documenting. During the evaluation meetings with IT, be sure to ask how the systems being evaluated will interface with: • Nursing records • Scheduling systems • Pharmacy systems • Lab / blood bank systems • Medication dispensing systems • Professional billing systems While the number of data points to connect may seem daunting, vendor cooperation and interoperability requirements have eliminated many of the hurdles that once forced the choice of a less than optimal anesthesia system or a monolithic enterprise system.
  7. 7. Share this eBook! Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS 7 Analytics Regardless if your anesthesia practice is a physician only private practice or an academic group, the need for access to data is steadily increasing. The problem most groups run into is that the data extract is either one- dimensional or takes so long to aggregate that it is no longer useful. Practices may even take on the additional overhead of data analysts in order to push data out in a timely manner. Vendors typically offer reporting features in one of several formats: • Microsoft Excel: Easy to manipulate but requires additional resource time to make data meaningful. • Crystal Reports: PDF reports that are based on a string of pre-determined data points. • Business Objects: Can display complex data but require users to pre-determine report constructs. Requires additional resources and training to manage. • Self-service Business Intelligence (BI): Enables the average end user to run and display queries based on endless variations of data selection. This platform also allows the incorporation of data from multiple systems.
  8. 8. Share this eBook! Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS 8 The Vendor Relationship Often overlooked in the selection process is the vendor’s approach to the client relationship. How will the vendor support the client during training and implementation? Once you are using the system, will the vendor come on site at regular intervals to help you maximize the return on your investment? And is the vendor committed to ongoing development of the product, which will be evident in their ability to deliver new functionality to keep your system current? Here are a few questions to ask during the selection process: • What is your typical implementation timeline? Can you be flexible to meet my implementation needs? • What is your implementation methodology? Is your methodology proven? • How you train end users? How long does training take? • What happens after we start using the system? • How often do you release new functionality?
  9. 9. Share this eBook! Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS 9 A Unified Perioperative Record Will the vendor also supply a system that fits the rest of the perioperative environment? There are numerous points of overlap between nursing, scheduling, and the anesthesia record. These points include critical areas such as: • Medical history • Allergies • Home medications • Medications administered day of surgery • NPO status In addition to clinical points, you also need to consider the operational nature of surgery. Will the anesthesia system stay in sync with changes in the OR schedule as they occur? Will the anesthesia billing party be able to reconcile the anesthesia charts against the cases that were actually performed that day (not just the ones on the original schedule)? A unified perioperative record also facilitates standardization across the patient record. With standardization comes consistency, which leads to error reduction and improvements in documentation time. When combined with the right data analysis tool, a unified perioperative record identifies areas for operational improvement, frequent quality score analysis, and opportunities for financial improvement.
  10. 10. Share this eBook! Top 6 Things Anesthesia Providers Should Know When Evaluating AIMS 10 Conclusion Choose your vendor with the thought that you will be partners moving forward. Interfacing and regulatory certification are important components as well. And finally, the system must provide a tool to analyze the huge amount of data you will be collecting in a way that generates meaningful results.
  11. 11. Share this eBook! 10 Unproductive Practices You Should STOP in Periop || 11 Want to learn more about how to evaluate AIMS solutions? Hear Marc Paradis, MD, Partner, Hartford Anesthesiology Associates, give his perspective in our on-demand webcast. Dr. Paradis examines why hospitals are automating anesthesia sooner rather than later, and more importantly why anesthesia providers should become part of the selection process. To learn more about the AIMS from Surgical Information Systems, call us at 1.800.930.089 or visit