Gary Haynes is a practicing Anesthesiologist, Professor, and the Merryl and Sam Israel Chair in Anesthesiology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a Graduate of Illinois College (BS), the University of Cincinnati (MS), and Case Western Reserve University (PhD and MD) and had US Residency Training in Anesthesiology at the Medical University of South Carolina. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Anesthesiology. Prior to becoming Chair at Tulane, he was Professor of Anesthesiology at the Medical University of South Carolina, Professor and Chair of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Saint Louis University, and a Medical Director with a US national anesthesia practice management company. His interests include resuscitation, blood transfusion and management of acquired bleeding disorders, department administration, and quality management.
Statement of the Problem: Anesthesia practice management requires the availability of well-trained medical professionals who can enter, and be retained in practice settings. Estimating both the needed, and the available professional personnel, and aligning educational programs to meet those needs is a tremendous challenge. Several studies conducted in the US during the past 25 years failed to assess correctly future manpower requirements. During this same period the US healthcare system experienced continuing growth despite major efforts made to reshape the national healthcare system. Coupled with numerous financial challenges, practice management must evolve with the growth of medical education, advances in anesthetic and surgical care, and growing demands for anesthesia services outside the traditional operating room environment. The problem of aligning anesthesia clinicians with demand is a major issue in the United States; however, it is likely an even greater international problem.
Methodology & Theoretical Orientation: Analyzing anesthesia manpower is a longitudinal problem that requires combining information over the span of decades. Analysis of published manpower studies, surveys, institutional and government reports provides the basis for practice management forecasting.
Findings: Past efforts to estimate future anesthesia manpower needs consistently underestimated the actual requirement for anesthesia personnel. Multiple factors including incorrect study assumptions, evolving demographic trends in patient populations, expansion of medical education, changing characteristics in anesthesia professionals, and growth in the use of anesthesia services outside the traditional operating room environment provide some of the explanations for the unexpected results.
Conclusion & Significance: Developed countries will likely have a continuing need for anesthesia professional staff for many years. The need is far greater in many areas of the world. New technological solutions and changes in the delivery of perioperative care will be sought as alternative solutions to the constraints of anesthesia professionals.