Background and objective: In this preliminary study we wanted to explore the attitudes of anaesthesiologists to a point-of-care information system in the operating room. The study was conducted as a preliminary step in the process of developing such a system by the European Society of Anaesthesiologists (ESA).
Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to all 2240 attendees of the ESA's annual meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, which took place in April 2001.
Results: Of the 329 responders (response rate of 14.6%), 79% were qualified specialists with more than 10 yr of experience (68%), mostly from Western Europe. Most responders admitted to regularly experiencing lack of medical knowledge relating to real-time patient care at least once a month (74%) or at least once a week (46%), and 39% admitted to having made errors during anaesthesia due to lack of medical information that can be other-wise found in a handbook. The choice of a less optimal but more familiar approach to patient management due to lack of knowledge was reported by 37%. Eighty-eight percent of responders believe that having a point-of-care information system for the anaesthesiologists in the operating room is either important or very important.
Conclusions: This preliminary survey demonstrates that lack of knowledge of anaesthesiologists may be a significant source of medical errors in the operating room, and suggests that a point-of-care information system for the anaesthesiologist may be of value.