Automated correction of room location errors in anesthesia information management systems

Richard H. Epstein, Franklin Dexter, Elizabeth Piotrowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND:: Anesthesia information management systems (AIMS) and operating room information management systems (ORIMS) are both used in operating rooms (OR). Anesthesia providers use AIMS to document their care in near real-time, including milestone events, and these systems automatically record vital signs from patient monitors. Circulating nurses use ORIMS primarily to document procedural information. Because of automatic documentation, AIMS would be ideal platforms for OR managerial decision support if the correct locations of cases in progress were known accurately. Trust is diminished if recommendations are poor. METHODS:: We compiled room location error rates from prior analyses of ORIMS data. Data from 24 consecutive 4-wk periods (45,459 cases) were analyzed from one hospital where both ORIMS and AIMS data were available. The actual location of cases was inferred from the physical location of the workstation recording the majority of pulse oximetry saturations. These were compared to the listed location in the AIMS and the final corrected location in the ORIMS. The scheduled and final ORIMS locations were compared to determine how often location changes were updated before the start of anesthesia. The location of cases was inferred in near real-time by using the identifier of the AIMS workstation transmitting pulse oximetry saturated electrocardiogram heart rate, and end-tidal CO2 partial pressures. RESULTS:: Location error rates ranged from 0% to 7.5% at 42 hospitals. The error rate at the studied hospital was just 0.4%, showing that the hospital was suitable for investigation. The 0.4% error rate was based on cases listed as overlapping in the same OR, and thus under-estimated the actual error rate in the ORIMS (1.0%). With education, there was a decrease in the moved cases in the ORIMS whose location was not changed before the start of anesthesia (9.3%-2.0%, P < 10). Despite the significant improvement (P < 10) in the error rate between the AIMS listed and actual locations, the residual AIMS real-time error rate was 4.1% of cases. Use of vital sign data reduced errors to <0.1%. CONCLUSIONS:: Education can only modestly improve the accuracy of OR locations in ORIMS and AIMS data. The actual location can be inferred, either in near real-time or afterwards, from the AIMS workstation transmitting vital sign data. This addresses the fundamental problem of cases having more than one location during the course of anesthetic care (e.g., holding area, block room, OR, and postanesthesia care unit), which cannot be determined from scheduled ORIMS or listed AIMS locations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-971
Number of pages7
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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