HYPOTHESIS: Automated Anaesthetic Record Keeping Systems (AARKs) can reduce clinician recording time, are easy-to-use and produce clearer, more accurate records than a manual system. BACKGROUND: Studies over the last twenty years have identified potential benefits from the use of Automated Anaesthetic Record-Keeping systems, but have not proved the benefits. A review of the literature indicates that AARKs have been in use for many years and have progressively improved specifically in terms of their usability. Advances in technology have improved the usability and the measurability of AARK systems. This study, conducted by Communio Pty. Ltd. at two Queensland Health (QH) hospitals measures critical changes resulting from the introduction of Winchart (by Medtel Australia) into the perioperative environment. This system is designed to capture clinical information from patient monitoring equipment and other devices, in addition to clinician input. It uses a state-of-the art touch screen interface for rapid input of data, thus addressing the anaesthetist-machine interface issues of earlier systems. METHOD: The full study compared the data gained from the set of baseline measurements with the data gained from a set of post-implementation measurements, to provide details of changes, plus identification and measurement of benefits, from the use of an automated system. To achieve this objective, a two-phased measurement approach was adopted, within both the baseline study and post implementation study, embracing both quantitative and qualitative data capture. This paper primarily focuses on: one quantitative aspect of the study, clinician recording time; and those qualitative aspects related to ease-of-use and quality of the record produced. RESULTS: The results of this study, confirmed that with progressive use of the system ease-of-use improves and user satisfaction levels increase, along with improved quality and accuracy of data as confirmed by clinicians during the survey periods. The quantitative results show that the hypothesis has been proved and that time savings are achievable for clinicians with an average reduction for clinician recording time in the range of 48-93% for OTs and 93% for PACU environments.
Anaesthetics; Automated Medical Records System; Benefits Measurement