Benefits of Perioperative Medication Management

As long as drug hazards exist for patients everywhere, improving medication management should be an ongoing priority for any anesthesia department. The Institute of Medicine has estimated that each year medication errors injure at least 1.5 million Americans and cost the health care system more than $3.5 billion. Not only do anesthesia providers have to remain vigilant in dosing patients correctly perioperatively, but they must also consider the medications patients have taken prior to surgery and adjust their anesthetic plans accordingly. A strong perioperative medication management program can help to abate medication error risks.

Avoiding Medication Errors During Surgery

According to the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, medication errors have been estimated to occur in approximately 5% of medication administrations during surgery, with a large majority of them being preventable. Since the anesthesia provider plays a significant role throughout the total medication process, detail is paramount.

For now, education remains the best way to avoid medication errors during surgery. When preparing the medication syringe from the drug’s vial or ampule, anesthesia providers must be sure to choose the correct vial and the intended concentration of the medication. When drug containers look similar or are situated near each other in the anesthesia cart, careful attention must be paid. Next, the anesthesia provider must be sure to choose the correct syringe during surgery. These two elements of intraoperative medication delivery lead to the highest instances of medication errors.

Preoperative Medication Management

Some commonly used medications have potential interactions with drugs used during surgery, but few instances prohibit simultaneous administration. Still, it must be considered that some medications must be continued through the perioperative period while others must be stopped, replaced or temporarily administered via another route. Since proper perioperative management can help to prevent or minimize complications, the following components of perioperative medication management should be considered:

  • Accurate documentation of all preoperative medications
  • Established decisions on stopping medications before surgery
  • Monitoring chemistry study results to determine dosages and surveil adverse effects
  • Appropriate management of pain
  • Administration of adjunctive medications
  • Use of appropriate formulations and alternative products when necessary
  • Review of discharge medications to ensure discontinuation of surgery-specific drugs to avoid polypharmacy

CCI Anesthesia’s Commitment to Anesthesia Providers

Patient safety is our topmost priority at CCI Anesthesia. We are also committed to supporting our anesthesia providers in their individual pursuits of clinical excellence. One way we do this is through the CCI Institute of Excellence where providers can find helpful information on current topics and issues related to anesthesia care. 

CCI Anesthesia jobs are best suited for providers who want to practice in a culture where they are encouraged to work at the top of their skill set. If you are interested in applying for one of our positions, call us today at 800.494.3948.