Improving Regional Anesthesia Practices
Members of the regional anesthesia service at BCH are involved in diverse research projects at the nexus of actual patient care. Set amidst the largest pediatric regional anesthesia service in the US, the BCH regional anesthesia team is uniquely positioned to study these blocks in actual, ongoing patient care and advance knowledge in this little-studied area.
Active projects run the gamut from pharmacokinetic studies of local anesthetic drugs to direct, head-to-head clinical comparisons of different regional blocks for management of acute postoperative pain. Systems are created to automatically collect follow-up data from patients and better understand how blocks influence long-term outcomes.
The pharmacokinetic and other drug studies serve to better understand optimal dosing of local anesthetics to maximize their utility and reduce reliance on other, potentially habit-forming pain medications like opioids.
The direct block comparisons identify the safest, easiest, and most efficacious blocks in specific situations to ensure block utilization is maximized and reliance on opiate and other pain medications is further reduced. The regional anesthesia group is also actively studying the utility of regional blocks for patients with chronic pain resulting from various medical conditions, such as cancer.
Researchers in this group are investigating how to collect and utilize outcomes data from patients, whether in studies or not, to better understand how regional anesthesia impacts recovery. Data gathered from all patients will be fed back into care decision-support systems to inform medical planning and further refine and optimize care in a continuous improvement cycle, known as a learning health system.