Survey shows docs favor e-monitoring of oxygenation post-surgery

A new survey conducted by the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) has found that most healthcare providers agree that electronic monitoring of oxygenation and ventilation post-surgery can reduce the likelihood of patients dying from opioid overdoses.

According to results from the survey, almost all healthcare providers (90 percent) said that continuous electronic monitoring of should be available and considered for all patients following surgery.

[See also: Patient safety drives HIT agenda.]

The monitoring would help to recognize clinically significant opioid-induced depression of ventilation in the postoperative period, according to the survey.

Almost 300 people responded to the survey, of which more than 97 percent were healthcare providers, researchers for PPAHS said.

Marc Popovich, MD, medical director of the surgical intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic expressed surprise over these results.

"I am quite shocked that the disagree group is that high!” said Popovich. “The question asked whether continuous monitoring should be 'available and considered' for all patients. What this survey result is saying is that 10 percent do not have monitoring available and it is not even being considered for their patients after surgery."

To improve patient safety and health outcomes, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) recently released recommendations calling for continuous electronic monitoring of oxygenation and ventilation.

"This electronic monitoring," explained Popovich, "would entail the use of pulse oximetry which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood and capnograph which measures the concentration of carbon dioxide that a person breathes out in exhaled air."

"This intervention is easy," said Moises Auron, MD, from the Department of Hospital Medicine and the Center for Pediatric Hospital Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. "Simply clamp on the pulse oximeter and hook up the capnograph."

Unfortunately, this easy process is not being done all the time and patient safety may be compromised, according to Helen Haskell, co-founder of the Empowered Patient Coalition.

[See also: Consumer Partnership for eHealth releases HIT platform report.]

"I get too many calls from patients whose family members have died from post-op opiate overdose," Haskell said.

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