Observations: Transition of Care

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January 1, 2013 Volume 77, Number 1
Observations: Transition of Care N. Martin Giesecke, M.D. Editor, ASA NEWSLETTER

As those of you who read the NEWSLETTER’s December 2012 editorial know, after nine years of service as the editor of your NEWSLETTER, Douglas Bacon, M.D. has moved on to assume other challenges, including chairing the Department of Anesthesiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine. Please join me in con-gratulating Doug for his commitment to ASA and his service to the NEWSLETTER.

Replacing Dr. Bacon as NEWS-LETTER Editor will not be an easy task. Some years ago, Doug asked me to serve as one of two (at the time) associate editors. In that position, it was my task to oversee one issue of the NEWSLETTER each year. While serving as associate editor, it has been my experience that Doug made the job of editing the NEWSLETTER look effortless, and it was a true labor of love for him. As my responsibility now changes, my deadlines will be monthly, rather than annual. We’ll see if I have enough to write about in all those issues.

On a more local level, another of my responsibilities is serving as program director of the Core Anesthesiology Residency Training Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. From that point of view, it is evident that the current Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME’s) work hours rules have led to more frequent hand-offs between patient caregivers. Recognizing that these hand-offs might be a risk to patient safety, in 2006 the ACGME mandated new standards for Transitions of Care. Essentially, trainees must use one of several approaches (e.g., a checklist) to report a patient’s condition to a relieving caregiver. This report must contain pertinent historical information, as well as current status and expected ongoing care issues. If the patient is not stable, or has outstanding evaluations pending, this information is also to be included in the Transitions of Care report.

Likely, most of us have used some form of a transition of care report for years as we have handed off care of a patient to another anesthesiologist. It is only the formalization of the process that the ACGME expects to occur in residency training. Let’s use the Transition of Care metaphor now in looking at the current change in editorship of the NEWSLETTER from Doug to me – it is evident that Doug has left me in a good position to provide quality editorial guidance. Though there was no checklist given to me at the handover, I know that Doug is only a phone call away when questions arise. And the excellent staff at ASA headquarters will provide the continuity of care for the entire endeavor.

This month’s featured topic is “Practice Management.” In addition to the articles in this edition of the NEWSLETTER, members should not forget that ASA’s PRACTICE MANAGEMENT 2013 will take place January 25-27, 2013 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. With the continued evolution of our health care system, as brought about by the Affordable Care Act, the material presented at PRACTICE MANAGEMENT 2013 conference will be beneficial to ASA members.

As we navigate these changes to health care, ASA will continue to keep its members up to date on practice management issues, allowing us to cope with health care reform as it affects our practices.

N. Martin Giesecke, M.D. is M.T. “Pepper” Jenkins Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.