The future of nonoperating room anesthesia in the 21st century: emphasis on quality and safety

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Nonoperating room anesthesia (NORA) has grown from an insignificant percentage of total anesthesia cases into a major percentage of anesthesia workload over the past 30 years. This trend evidences no signs of abating.

Recent findings

With the rapid development of novel interventional techniques in cardiology, radiology, gastroenterology and pulmonary medicine and other areas, the core responsibilities of the anesthesia provider will no longer be confined to delivering care in traditional operating rooms. This change presents challenges for the profession on several fronts. Efficient staffing of multiple locations poses challenges. The demand for anesthesia services continues to increase, but underutilization is a major problem. Each clinical area presents unique patient care issues. New interventional techniques are continually developed with which anesthesiologists need to be familiar in each specific area. NORA patients are older and medically complex, yet many are treated on an outpatient basis. Consequently, anesthetic management for NORA will of necessity require techniques that allow patients to recover quickly.

Summary

It may be anticipated that in the next decade that NORA cases will constitute over 50% of the number of cases performed with anesthesia involvement. As the last century belonged to invasive surgery, the next century will belong to interventionalists. There is also an increasing national emphasis on quality measurement and metrics reporting. Future anesthesia payment models under Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, such as merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS), emphasize various process and outcomes measures. Anesthesiologists will be evaluated based on a composite performance score consisting of four components: quality, resource use, clinical practice improvement activities and meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology.

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