Different Models, Same Quality Outcomes

At its core, anesthesia care is freedom from pain. Each year, millions of Americans undergo some form of medical treatment requiring anesthesia. In the hands of qualified professionals such as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), anesthesia is a safe and effective means of alleviating pain during nearly every type of medical procedure.

Methods and Models

The Perfect Model, Safe and Cost-Effective

A landmark study published in 2010 found that a CRNA working as the sole anesthesia provider is the most cost-effective anesthesia delivery model. Get research

There are three basic types of anesthesia:

  • General anesthesia produces a loss of sensation throughout the entire body.
  • Regional anesthesia produces a loss of sensation to a specific region of the body.
  • Local anesthesia produces a loss of sensation to a small specific area of the body.

While all anesthesia professionals deliver the same anesthetics, there are several models for who makes up the anesthesia delivery team:

  • Care-team model - physician anesthesiologists supervising resident physicians in training and directing qualified non-physician anesthesia providers, such as CRNAs, who ultimately administer the anesthetics.
  • All-MD model - anesthesia care provided by medical doctors only, specifically physician anesthesiologists. Because of the higher staff costs, this model is most prevalent in one- or two-room surgery centers and less common in large ambulatory service centers.
  • All-CRNA model - anesthesia care delivered by CRNAs independently, without the involvement of an anesthesiologist. In states where supervision is required, CRNAs practicing in this model can be supervised by any licensed physician.
  • MD+CRNA model - this model functions much like the care team model but with fewer supervision requirements, allowing CRNAs to function according to their full scope of practice.

In the U.S., CRNAs are the hands-on providers of approximately 43 million anesthetics to patients annually.