According to an article from Anesthesia News, numerous academic hospital anesthesia departments are reporting an insufficient level of technician and transport support. With the volume of complex surgical cases increasing, along with off-site procedures and advancements in technology, there is an additional pressure on the healthcare system to provide expert technical staff with skilled knowledge in anesthesia technology.
However, a study of all 133 chairs of U.S. academic anesthesia departments conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey found that this shortage of infrastructural support is leading to potential safety issues for the staff and the patients. It was also noticed that technician support is significantly lower during off hours, with no dedicated technicians on the weekends. The insufficient transports have caused delays in operating rooms and are costing the facilities money.
Steven H. Ginsberg, MD, who is conducting this study, has found that three-fourths of respondents felt main operating rooms are better supplied by technicians than offsite locations.
The shortage is negatively affecting the clinical teams as well as the patients. More than 48% said the insufficient staff has affected resident education, while 30% said the shortage is affecting patient safety because there is no supervision.
Dr. Ginsberg’s hope is that the survey results will prompt hospital anesthesia departments speak with their hospital’s administration to advocate for changes that will address these issues and improve patient care.