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Automated Data Transmission for the Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ Adult Cardiac Anesthesia Module

Wanderer, Jonathan P. MD, MPhil; Shaw, Andrew D. MB, FRCA, FCCM, FFICM; Ehrenfeld, Jesse M. MD, MPH

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000000395
Letters to the Editor: Letter to the Editor

Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee,

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To the Editor

A recent article by Aronson et al.1 describes the development of an adult cardiac anesthesia module to supplement the Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ national database. The development of national databases is a key component of understanding practice patterns in medicine and performing meaningful outcomes research, and the collaborative integration of surgical and anesthesia datasets is critical in advancing perioperative care. However, we are concerned about the Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ decision to only allow data entry via a web module. Although this is a reasonable option for small participating hospitals and does not require special software, it requires increasingly more work for hospitals with high surgical volume and is impractical for a large institution. At Vanderbilt University Medical Center, our adult cardiac service performed approximately 1300 procedures last year. Given that the anesthesia module contains 84 discrete elements, this would require the manual entry of more than 100,000 items per year. Manual data entry has been demonstrated to be less accurate compared to automated methods in creating clinical data repositories.2 In addition, it requires substantial staff time and is thus out of step with the current health care environment, which is focusing on improving value by increasing quality while decreasing cost. Six commercial anesthesia information management systems vendors now control 78% of the market.3 Development of a standardized data transmission format, validation, and field mapping to these vendors would obviate the need for redundant data entry, improve the quality of data capture, and reduce the cost of participation. We know this is both technically possible and feasible, given the success of the Multicenter Perioperative Outcomes Group.4 We urge the Society for Thoracic Surgery to develop the functionality necessary to support automated data transmission.

Jonathan P. Wanderer, MD, MPhil

Andrew D. Shaw, MB, FRCA, FCCM, FFICM

Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH

Department of Anesthesiology

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

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1. Aronson S, Mathew JP, Cheung AT, Shore-Lesserson L, Troianos CA, Reeves S. The rationale and development of an adult cardiac anesthesia module to supplement the Society of Thoracic Surgeons national database: using data to drive quality. Anesth Analg. 2014;118:925–32
2. Hong MK, Yao HH, Pedersen JS, Peters JS, Costello AJ, Murphy DG, Hovens CM, Corcoran NM. Error rates in a clinical data repository: lessons from the transition to electronic data transfer–a descriptive study. BMJ Open. 2013;3:e002406
3. Provider behavior indicates significant shifts in AIMS market trends. Available at: Accessed May 30, 2014
4. Kheterpal S. Clinical research using an information system: the multicenter perioperative outcomes group. Anesthesiol Clin. 2011;29:377–88
© 2014 International Anesthesia Research Society