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Comparison of minute distribution frequency for anesthesia start and end times from an anesthesia information management system and paper records

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Use of an anesthesia information management system (AIMS) has been reported to improve accuracy of recorded information. We tested the hypothesis that analyzing the distribution of times charted on paper and computerized records could reveal possible rounding errors, and that this effect could be modulated by differences in the user interface for documenting certain event times with an AIMS. We compared the frequency distribution of start and end times for anesthesia cases completed with paper records and an AIMS. Paper anesthesia records had significantly more times ending with “0” and “5” compared to those from the AIMS (p < 0.001). For case start times, AIMS still exhibited end-digit preference, with times whose last digits had significantly higher frequencies of “0” and “5” than other integers. This effect, however, was attenuated compared to that for paper anesthesia records. For case end times, the distribution of minutes recorded with AIMS was almost evenly distributed, unlike those from paper records that still showed significant end-digit preference. The accuracy of anesthesia case start times and case end times, as inferred by statistical analysis of the distribution of the times, is enhanced with the use of an AIMS. Furthermore, the differences in AIMS user interface for documenting case start and case end times likely affects the degree of end-digit preference, and likely accuracy, of those times.

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Correspondence to Jerry Stonemetz.

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Phelps, M., Latif, A., Thomsen, R. et al. Comparison of minute distribution frequency for anesthesia start and end times from an anesthesia information management system and paper records. J Clin Monit Comput 31, 845–850 (2017).

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