Anesthesia: An Overview

A History of Collaboration

A History of Improving Access and Healthcare Efficiency

For anesthesiologists, collaboration and trouble-shooting are in our blood: we support every medical specialty in caring for patients in every stage of life, from the delivery of new babies to caring for the sick and elderly.

In 2003 Ontario was experiencing a significant shortage of anesthesiologists that resulted in roughly 20 per cent of operating rooms being closed daily. Waiting lists for procedures like cataract surgery were months long.

To address the situation, the Section on Anesthesiology and the Ministry of Health negotiated and implemented the Anesthesia Care Team model. Under this model, anesthesia assistants provide safe, efficient sedation for cataract surgery under the supervision of anesthesiologists.

This collaborative solution has drastically cut cataract waiting times to mere weeks, rather than months or years. The value of this program has been frequently heralded by Minister Matthews herself.

In 2013, with a pressing need for austerity measures, Ontario’s Anesthesiologists remain committed to reducing healthcare costs while continually improving access to important medical care. As we are on the front lines of healthcare, we believe we are best positioned to find efficiencies. Together with other Sections of specialists, the Ontario Medical Association, and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, we have found solutions to address the immediate need. Building on the success of the Anesthesia Care Team model, Ontario’s Anesthesiologists will continue to consider and propose innovative models for effective and efficient improvements to our provision of care.

For more information on Anesthesia Care Teams, please click here for the Ministry of Health’s news release announcing the model’s adoption, and here for the full report of the Operative Anesthesia Committee, Transforming the Delivery of Operative Anesthesia Services in Ontario, which recommended the adoption and implementation of the Anesthesia Care Team Model.