Improving Anesthesia Services – Continuous Quality Improvement

Focusing on CQI

Meeting the anesthesia requirements of an increasing number of surgical as well as office-based procedures can sometimes compromise the quality of healthcare provided. Maintaining high standards means implementing a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program to evaluate performance and identify areas in need of attention.

CQI for medical services, often referred to as managed care, is based on evaluation of a product or the outcome(s) of a process. It involves a clear understanding of the needs and expectations of the consumers of these products or processes.

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The greatest value of CQI is in identifying areas of change while planning improvements. A successful program depends on documentation, accountability and assessment. For anesthesia services this involves tracking complications and unexpected outcomes as well as anesthetist competency.

10 things an Anesthesia Services CQI program must include

  1. A detailed clinical assessment of the facilities you are working with to ensure they are in compliance with approved standards of health care
  2. Examining credentials of your anesthetists and CRNAs to minimize liabilities and implement best practices
  3. Having a well-documented plan for benchmarking your anesthesia services and evaluating anesthetists (like peer reviews)
  4. Implementing a proper anesthesia delivery process that conforms to required standards and minimizes error
  5. Online technology to facilitate communication between anesthetists, the anesthesia consulting firm and medical centers they service. Should also have an online mechanism for dissemination of information and education for staff.
  6. Regular reporting by anesthetists/CRNAs, patient satisfaction surveys, staff and/or client meetings to record and discuss cases (especially those with complications and unexpected outcomes)
  7. Routine checks on equipment and anesthesia providers to ensure compliance and maintain quality
  8. Assigning local staff  familiar with the medical center/office-based physician’s modus operandi to improve patient outcomes
  9. Strategies for risk management as well as securing anesthetist and CRNA buy-in to change
  10. Process to measure results and effectiveness


Share with us your CQI strategies for improving anesthesia services.