While you were sleeping: The crucial, quiet role of anesthesia

In some surgical situations, the role of anesthesiology may seem incidental, but as Beth Kaylor, RN, explains, nothing could be further from the truth.
clinical terminology

Patients often form relationships with their healthcare providers. You may talk about how great your orthopedic surgeon is or how highly you would recommend your nurse practitioner. But how often do you even recall your anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist? 

Of course, some of this is by design. If you are going into surgery with few or no health problems, a large portion of your encounters with anesthesia providers may occur with some level of sedation. (Thanks, anesthesia!) However, while you may not be thinking about anesthesia, these providers are certainly focused on you. Whether they’re managing codes, the pain clinic, supporting the ICU, GI lab, interventional radiology, or administering that beloved epidural in labor and delivery, anesthesia is there. 

Not quite as easy as A-B-C

As a nurse, I learned early on about the ABCs of priority care: A (Airway), B (Breathing), and C (Circulation). Surgeons can have a laser focus on the procedures at hand because they can rely on anesthesia to manage the ABCs for the patient. It may seem rather simplistic. Often, you attempt to count backward for a few moments, and when you wake up your procedure is complete. During that time, you have been under the watchful eye of anesthesia as they manage your plan of care which includes not only your anesthetic, but supportive medications, breathing, fluid levels, blood volume management, and more. (We don’t always realize what goes into anesthesia care because providers have performed it so well.)

Enhancing clinical terminology and workflows

Considering all that anesthesia provides and its critical role in patient care, it is surprising that the clinical terminology and workflows that support anesthesiologists aren’t always as strong as those available to surgeons. Quickly getting up to speed on a patient’s history can be cumbersome due to problems, medications, and labs that are found in various places throughout the EHR. And while documentation of anesthesia delivery is typically automated and connected to the EHR, the necessary details to connect to ensure complete and efficient billing are often lacking, requiring manual intervention from coders.

At IMO, we are focused on developing solutions that support the care of patients and anesthesia providers. We believe that clean, concise patient data and procedures are a cornerstone of the anesthesia process from the initial assessment and development of the anesthesia plan-of-care to the post-case procedural coding. As a result, IMO is imagining a future whereby simply selecting the desired procedure to be performed, not only automatically populates the EHR with the corresponding CPT® codes, but also adds related data to ensure clinical quality and the requisite detail for efficient reimbursement.

To learn more about IMO’s clinical workflow solutions, click here.

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