University of California, Irvine

Perioperative Surgical Home

As a national leader in the development of a Perioperative Surgical Home model, we continue to explore how anesthesiologists can improve both safety and efficiency through better coordination of the entire perioperative period. We have a host of ongoing studies in this area focusing on preoperative information gathering and optimization through discharge planning and home-health monitoring.

Perioperative Ultrasonography

Starting with our extensive ultrasound training curriculum for residents (just published in Anesthesiology as the featured cover article), we continue to explore how perioperative ultrasonography can benefit the specialty. Current investigations include confirmation of endotracheal tube position, PACU evaluation for hypotension, and utility during critical intraoperative events.

Critical Events & Safety

Our department has a highly developed quality assurance program that includes cooperation with national outcome databases and robust internal review mechanisms. We continue to explore how this platform can be used to improve patient safety and care. Active projects include critical event analysis in the operating rooms, readmission prevention, and targeted educational trainings focused on things like management of spinal drains.

Pain Protocols, Alternatives, and Variables Affecting Outcomes

Pain profoundly affects quality of life, drives healthcare utilization, and can be challenging to treat, especially in its chronic forms. Greater recognition of pain as an important aspect of health has brought with it an expansion of opioid analgesic use and the resultant problems of opioid tolerance and opioid dependence. While unwelcome, these issues are fundamentally intertwined with pain as it is treated today. Our research explores the impacts of tolerance and dependence on pain care, the ways in which care can be improved in this milieu, and new treatment modalities to better address pain. Additionally, our bench research is heavily focused on opioid tolerance and the genetic and neural underpinnings of chronic pain.

Smarter Devices and Systems

With Orange County hosting one of the largest biomedical device industry hubs in the country, we are privileged to have a strong group of physicians invested in understanding how devices can be better made to actually improve patient outcomes. Our anesthesiologists include software experts developing patient care modules for electronic medical records and smart software for therapeutic devices, and we have a strong collaboration with both bioengineering schools and the start-up incubator space at UCI.