Patient Safety Activities

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The American Society of Anesthesiologists® (ASA®) has been a pioneer in the field of patient safety and its membership has worked to improve patient satisfaction and experience with anesthesia care. Although it is generally agreed that anesthesia is safer than it has ever been, improvement is always possible. ASA provides members with education related to the application of current and developing technologies as well as new knowledge on identifying and preventing patient safety events. The society also has developed materials on important information on current trends in patient safety techniques. 

Since its founding in October 1905 by nine medical colleagues in Long Island, NY, ASA has functioned as a research, scientific and educational resource for anesthesiologists, patients, the public and policymakers. ASA and its membership provide highly respected guidance and expertise in patient safety matters.

Patient Safety Highlights

  • In the late 1970s, ASA undertook a massive effort to improve the anesthetic mortality rate by determining the cause of adverse anesthesia-related outcomes and focusing attention on avoiding similar incidents in the future.
  • In 1985, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) was created to improve the safety of patients during anesthesia care. 
  • In 1986, ASA was the first medical specialty to adopt standards of care for its members. Today, dozens of standards, guidelines and statements, developed and routinely reviewed and updated by the society, address standards of care patients receive before, during and after surgery.
  • ASA has produced more than thirty instructional videos for use in anesthesiology residency programs and continuing education programs since 1987.
  • The Anesthesia Quality Institute, established in 2008, created the first nationwide system for collecting individual adverse events from anesthesia, pain management and perioperative care. The Anesthesia Incident Reporting System (AIRS) is an online reporting tool for anesthesiologists. 

Return to the ASA Quality Improvement webpage.