The medicolegal importance of enhancing timeliness of documentation when using an anesthesia information system and the response to automated feedback in an academic practice

Michael M. Vigoda, David A. Lubarsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Documentation should ideally occur in real time immediately after completion of a service. Although electronic records often do not print the time that documentation notes were entered on the medical record, automated anesthesia record keeping systems store an audit trail that time stamps events entered by all anesthesia providers. As more lawyers become aware of this fact and requisition audit trails, prospective charting of necessary documentation may undermine the integrity of an anesthesia care team accused of malpractice, with potentially significant medicolegal consequences. We changed existing documentation practices of a large academic practice via a three-step process. Educational sessions increased the percentage of cases with correct timing of emergence documentation from 25% to 60% over a 2-mo period. Automated email performance feedback further increased correct note timing to 70%. When combined with personal contact by a member of the billing office and email copy notification of the chair, the percentage increased to >99.5%. The behavioral change was seen in all individuals, as 95% of attendings had ≤2 records/mo with untimely documentation at the end of the study period. Once the habits were ingrained, further input was rarely necessary over the next 9 mo. This suggests physician behavioral change related to work process flow, unlike that related to patient care, is easily sustained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Volume103
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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