Anesthesiologists are the primary users of preoperative medical consultations (consults), but the information in consults is often of limited usefulness to anesthesiologists and the rest of the surgical and perioperative team. The purpose of a consult is not to "clear" a patient for surgery but rather to optimize a patient's underlying disease states before they are compounded by the insult of surgery. Too often consults provide advice on subjects that are in the realm of expertise of the anesthesiologist-such as the type of anesthesia to administer or what intraoperative monitoring to use-and thus risk being ignored. Consults should instead provide specifi c data about the patient that are pertinent to the surgery, as well as guidance on preoperative and postoperative disease management.
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