Anesthesia IT Management Systems and ACOs


3 years ago, I was completely new to anesthesia IT management systems (AIMS), so I was pointed to what I would consider “the classic” AIMS resource to gather some baseline knowledge on the systems.  Anesthesia Informatics is still unbeatable for laying out the foundational concepts. To the authors’ credit, this volume has stood the test of time even though a lot has changed in 15 years. But the one area I would have liked more information on was in linking the benefits of anesthesia billing to delivering enhanced patient care and quantifying AIMS benefits for the individuals who ultimately have to decide to invest— hospital administrators.

Last year, I helped write a whitepaper titled Anesthesia Information that Enables All Perioperative Phases of Care, which was intended as a resource to help explain the benefits of an AIMS for hospital administrators. This gave me a chance to take some of the theories that I have developed about the benefits of an AIMS and test them through 3rd party research and interviews with customers. Call it intuition (and maybe optimism!) after working in the healthcare products and services industry for 15 years, but a simple guiding philosophy I have held is that “any product or service that helps achieve the ultimate goal of advancing patient care for a reasonable cost will survive and flourish.” The research that went into this whitepaper helped show that an AIMS could support that philosophy.

One thing I didn’t expect to see when we wrote the paper is a linkage between AIMS and the Perioperative Surgical Home model. However, at the American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting in 2013, this linkage became clear to me. Many of the stated goals of the Perioperative Surgical Home model such as intraoperative efficiency and improved post-procedural care could indeed be achieved through use of an AIMS.  

Then when I saw the ASA request for proposal for 50 organizations to pilot a move toward payment models aligning incentives to improve quality while simultaneously reducing costs (i.e., an ACO), it became clear to me that if ACOs are to succeed in the most costly part of the hospital, it makes sense that an AIMS will be required. I believe an AIMS is a key part of developing an ACO. If I’m right, the value of an AIMS has indeed come a long way in 15 years.

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