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Preoperative evaluation clinics

Yen, Christophera; Tsai, Mitchella; Macario, Alexb

Current Opinion in Anesthesiology: April 2010 - Volume 23 - Issue 2 - p 167–172
doi: 10.1097/ACO.0b013e328336f4b9
Ethics, economics and outcome: Edited by Alex Macario

Purpose of review The ever-increasing demand for productivity has forced anesthesiology departments to implement a safe, efficient, and structured approach to the preoperative evaluation of surgical patients. The goal of the present article is to discuss the evolution, benefits, and the future of preoperative clinics including a telephone-based system.

Recent findings Outpatient preoperative evaluation clinics are common, but the optimal model is unknown and may depend on a hospital's characteristics such as the types of specialty care provided, geographic and socioeconomic differences of the population served by the hospital, the expectations of patients, and whether the facility is private versus academic practice where house staff education is necessary. The advantages of a telephone-based screening and assessment system include that patients need not make a separate visit to the hospital that typically would require taking time off from work.

Summary It is difficult to compare the efficacy of different preoperative evaluation systems with regard to properly educating the patient, minimizing complications, and maximizing surgical suite functioning. Several authors have pointed out that quality improvement of the preoperative clinic should be guided by obtaining patient feedback.

aDepartment of Anesthesiology, Fletcher Allen Healthcare, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont, USA

bAnesthesia Residency, Department of Anesthesia H3580, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA

Correspondence to Mitchell Tsai, MD, MS, Clinical Instructor, Department of Anesthesiology, Fletcher Allen Healthcare, University of Vermont College of Medicine, 111 Colchester Ave., 122-WP2, Burlington, VT 05401, USA Tel: +1 802 847 2415; fax: +1 802 847 5324; e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.