Measuring quality across anesthesia care continues to be complex, often confusing and in many cases shrouded in a labyrinth of rules and regulations. Physician anesthesiologists practice in a variety of settings and deliver care to a diverse patient population that ranges from the very young to the very old and from the very healthy to the very ill. Effectively capturing quality at the individual, group or facility level also has its own complexities. So how is quality defined, who determines quality and what does the future look like for anesthesia quality data capture and use?

Several years ago, the Institute of Medicine defined quality as “the degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.” This definition of quality may appear simple, yet how we...

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