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Electronic Audit and Feedback With Positive Rewards Improve Anesthesia Provider Compliance With a Barcode-Based Drug Safety System

Bowdle, T. Andrew MD, PhD, FASE; Jelacic, Srdjan MD, FASE; Nair, Bala PhD; Zucker, Frank PhD; Bussey, Logan S. MA; Togashi, Kei MD, MPH; Yang, Jen-Ting MD, MS; Lang, John MD

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000003861
Patient Safety: Original Clinical Research Report

BACKGROUND: We implemented a previously described barcode-based drug safety system in all of our anesthetizing locations. Providers were instructed to scan the barcode on syringes using our Anesthesia Information Management System before drug administration, but the rate of provider adherence was low. We studied an implementation intervention intended to increase the rate of scanning.

METHODS: Using our Anesthesia Information Management System and Smart Anesthesia Manager software, we quantified syringe drug administrations by anesthesia providers with and without barcode scanning. We use an anesthesia team model in which an attending anesthesiologist is paired with a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) or a resident. Our system identified the pair of providers associated with a particular drug administration, but did not distinguish which providers actually administered the drug. Therefore, the rate of barcode scanning for a particular case was assigned to both providers equally. A baseline rate of scanning was established over a period of 17 months. An audit and feedback intervention was then performed that consisted of monthly performance reports sent by email to individual providers along with coffee gift card awards for top performers. The coffee gift cards were awarded in only the first 2 months of the intervention, while the email performance reports continued on a monthly basis. The coffee card awards were made public. The monthly emails reported the individual provider’s rank order of performance relative to other providers, but was otherwise anonymous. The baseline rate of scanning was compared to the rate of scanning after the intervention for a period of 7 months.

RESULTS: From November 2014 to March 2017, we accumulated 60,197 cases performed by 88 attending anesthesiologists, 65 CRNAs, and 148 residents. The total number of syringe drug administrations was 653,355. Average scanning performance improved from 8.7% of syringe barcodes scanned during the baseline period from November 2014 to February 2016 to 64.4% scanned during the period September 2016 to March 2017 (P < .001). Variation in performance among individuals was marked, ranging from 0% to 100% of syringes scanned. The performance of some individuals showed marked oscillation over time. There was greater variation in performance attributable to residents than in performance attributable to CRNAs.

CONCLUSIONS: Feedback of individual provider performance data from the anesthesia information system to providers can be used in conjunction with other measures to improve performance. Despite improved average performance, there was marked variation in performance between individuals, and some individuals had marked oscillation of their performance over time.

From the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Published ahead of print 10 September 2018.

Accepted for publication September 10, 2018.

Funding: None.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website.

Reprints will not be available from the authors.

Address correspondence to T. Andrew Bowdle, MD, PhD, FASE, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Washington, Mail Stop 356540, Seattle, WA 98195. Address e-mail to

Copyright © 2018 International Anesthesia Research Society
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