Anesthesia Check – Benefits for Anesthesia Providers

by Jen Gitchell

A-Check Overview VideoA common question we hear: “Did Kit Check develop Anesthesia Check for anesthesiologists or for pharmacists?” The answer. Both. Many people don’t realize the tedious, manual tasks required to distribute, prepare, record and reconcile medication usage for anesthesia. The heavy workload of these manual efforts are experienced by both anesthesia providers and pharmacists.

Anesthesia Check automates many of these tasks while improving accuracy and patient safety. Yesterday we shared a fun video outlining some key product features. Today, I want to go into more depth on how daily tasks are impacted.

Anesthesia Provider Challenges

Anesthesiologists face many daily challenges that Anesthesia Check addresses, including:

  • Stock-outs
  • Syringe Labeling
  • Syringe Checking at Administration
  • Medication Use Reporting

Combating Stock-outs Through Visibility

When stock-outs occur, the medication is often available in the hospital. However, the inventory report for the Automated Dispensing Cabinet (ADC) or anesthesia cart was incorrect. As a result, medications were not fully restocked by pharmacy staff overnight. This leads to urgent requests by anesthesia providers and often delays anesthesia medication prep.

At its core, Anesthesia Check is a medication tracking solution that provides automated visibility to medication stock levels. As a result, it addresses this challenge directly by providing real-time information to the pharmacy when critical anesthesia medications are running low in the operating room (OR) suite. This, in turn, reduces stock-outs and inefficiency in anesthesia case prep.

Syringe Labeling – a Detail-Oriented Task

labeled-syringeWhen all of the medications are available, anesthesiologists can begin prepping for the anesthetic procedure. In most cases, this means drawing medications into syringes and then meticulously labeling them in compliance with ASA, Joint Commission and CMS guidelines. Labeling typically means taking the appropriately colored label with drug name and concentration, and then hand writing the quantity, volume, expiration date/time, preparation date/time, and the preparer’s initials. This is tedious and time consuming, with up to 41 steps required to administer a single traditional IV dose. It is also a potential point of error. A study reported in Drug Safety and reprinted by the NIH showed that 14% of medication errors occur at the time of preparation.

When using Anesthesia Check, providers simply scan a medication vial that has a Kit Check RFID tag and the system prepopulates the tag information based on the vial and the user’s preference. Then Anesthesia Check prints the ASA compliant tag with two additional small tags that can be used to quickly identify the syringe at the point of administration. The Anesthesia Check tag also uses RFID technology to create a unique identifier for the syringe that comes in handy later in the process.

Syringe Checking – Combating Syringe Swap

syringe-swapPrior to medication administration, anesthesia providers today must check and re-check that they are selecting the correct drug and appropriate strength. With Anesthesia Check, the anesthesia provider simply waves the syringe near the small RFID reader. This provides an audible and visible system validation of the provider’s visual selection. If it is the correct drug, the patient specific activity is recorded. If the syringe is previously associated to another patient, the system creates a warning. The syringe check provides an additional verification that can help reduce the risk of adverse drug events and includes real-time warnings for expired syringes and recalled drugs.

Automatic Waste Reporting

Another time-consuming task for anesthesia providers is recording all medication usage at the end of a case or shift. This is necessary to account for all controlled substances used during procedures and creates an accurate inventory for the pharmacy.

Anesthesia Check automates this process as well. Since data for each vial and syringe was established during stocking and case prep and associated with RFID tags, use reporting only requires waving the item past the Anesthesia Check RFID reader. Similar to the syringe check feature, the RFID reader automatically identifies each syringe and vial and can match this information to EMR data to automate waste sheet preparation. The solution eliminates manual recording activities and streamlines this important, but tedious, administrative process.

Efficiency to Enhance Patient Safety and Provide More Time for Clinical Care

I recognize anesthesia providers have a tough and stressful job with dozens of simultaneous responsibilities. Documentation and paperwork have been added over the years to improve patient safety and comply with regulatory requirements. However, this makes long shifts even longer and crowds out time that could be applied to the patients. Anesthesia Check is the solution for streamlining workflow, providing visibility and accountability, and enhancing patient safety in your OR.

Anesthesia Check provides clear benefits for anesthesiologists, but what about pharmacy directors? In Part 2 tomorrow, I will walk through three key benefits delivered to the pharmacy.