Physician Anesthesiologists Save Lives and Help Control Costs
Physician anesthesiologists are uniquely trained for the critical moments in health care — in the operating room, in the delivery room, and in the intensive care unit. In your hospital or medical facility, they apply their unmatched medical education and training to:
- Keep patients safe.
- Improve patient outcomes.
- Reduce the risk of complications.
- Control costs.
- Protect your hospital’s reputation and quality of care.
Keeping Patients Safe in Surgery
Removing physician anesthesiologists from the operating room lowers the standard of care and places patients and hospitals at great risk — without saving money. No one can match a physician anesthesiologist’s expertise in leading the Anesthesia Care Team, ensuring patient safety, and taking charge in emergencies.
The presence of a physician anesthesiologist prevented 6.9 excess deaths per 1,000 cases in which an anesthesia-related or surgical complication occurred.
Independent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Anesthesiology®
Improving Hospital Quality and Patient Outcomes
As experts in perioperative care, physician anesthesiologists are highly educated and trained to work with patients before, during, and after surgery to evaluate their overall health, identify and account for underlying medical conditions, manage postoperative pain, and plan for and supervise their recovery.
Controlling Hospital Costs
- The physician anesthesiologist’s involvement in perioperative care helps reduce unnecessary testing, same-day cancellations, operating room emergencies, and surgical complications.
- A 2017 study of states that allow nurse-led anesthesia care in surgery found a consistent pattern of higher costs per inpatient, totaling about $1,800 more per surgery, compared with the per-patient costs in states that require physician-led anesthesia care. Possible contributors to the cost difference include physician anesthesiologists’ ability to prevent patient complications and to complete tasks more efficiently.
- Nurse-only anesthesia care can lead to a higher number of hospitalizations after outpatient surgery. A 2012 study of more than 2 million patients receiving outpatient surgery found there was an 80% greater chance of their having “unexpected disposition” (including admission to the hospital) when anesthesia care was nurse-led instead of physician-led. These unexpected dispositions do not just represent poorer outcomes for patients; they also add hospital costs that can offset or exceed any “savings” from nurse-led care.
Providing Unmatched Expertise
Physician anesthesiologists are among the most highly educated and trained physicians, with the knowledge to treat the entire body. They complete:
- 12 to 14 years of postsecondary education, including medical school
- 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training
- At least four months of concentrated work in intensive care units
- Training to develop expertise in a subspecialty, such as pediatric surgery, labor and delivery, pain management, critical care, neurosurgery, or cardiac surgery
Giving Patients the Protection They Want and Need
According to an independent survey conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland for the American Society of Anesthesiologists:
- 9 in 10 patients want a physician anesthesiologist by their side to keep them safe in surgery.
- 9 in 10 surgeons believe physician anesthesiologists are the best-qualified to respond to complications and emergencies in the operating room.
Providing Leadership in a Crisis
As a pandemic hit the United States in 2020, physician anesthesiologists quickly pivoted to treating the most critically ill COVID-19 patients in intensive care units. They were uniquely prepared for the moment, with education, training, and expertise in pulmonary physiology, critical care medicine, ventilation strategies, resuscitation, intubation, and pain management. Many voluntarily traveled to hard-hit areas of the country to help, even though procedures like intubation put them within inches of a patient’s mouth and at very high risk for infection.
The Expertise of Physician Anesthesiologists on Display
“You’re basically right next to the nuclear reactor.”
The Washington Post — April 5, 2020
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