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Direct Faxing of Laboratory Results into the Operating Room

Lin, Yuan-Chi MD, MPH

Letter to the Editor

Department of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305.

To the Editor:

Gaiser et al. [1] have demonstrated that during telephone reporting of blood gas analysis results to the anesthesiologist in the operating room, 36 errors occurred in the 94 charts reviewed. I agree with Gaiser et al. that direct linking between laboratory instruments and computers within the operating room is an ideal but costly solution to the problem of relaying laboratory results to the anesthesiologist in the operating room in a timely, error-free fashion. In addition to Gaiser et al.'s proposal of having the anesthesiologist repeat the values to the laboratory technician twice during telephone reporting, I suggest that another possible solution is to install fax machines in each operating room for direct faxing of printed test results from the laboratory into the operating room. This method eliminates the possibility of human error during telephone reporting and saves valuable intraoperative time for the anesthesiologist. At our hospital, we have used fax machines for this purpose for approximately 1 yr with excellent results.

Yuan-Chi Lin, MD, MPH

Department of Anesthesia; Stanford University School of Medicine; Stanford, CA 94305

We failed to receive a response from Dr. Gaiser.

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1. Gaiser R, Hayes T, Castro A. Telephone reporting of blood analysis results into the operating room. Anesth Analg 1996;82:1284-6.
© 1997 International Anesthesia Research Society