As health care continues to evolve, the demand to do more with less, and to do it safely, grows both stronger and thornier. The path is complicated by workforce and staffing issues, sustainability questions, and the expansion of anesthesia services into new procedural locations and with more complex patients. Fortunately, ASA is not alone in our commitment to safe and efficient health care for all. Our corporate sponsors don’t merely share this goal; the work we do together helps us inch closer to achieving our desired outcomes as well.

This month, we spoke with GE HealthCare, an Industry Supporter since 2022, to get a sense of how they view our relationship and gain insight into the work they’re doing to improve patient care and clinician experiences.

“Our work starts with patient safety,” Eric Ruedinger, General Manager of Anesthesia and Respiratory Care, GE HealthCare, told us. “The practice of anesthesiology is rooted in patient safety. ASA shares those roots, and for the past 100 years, GE HealthCare has, too.” For Ruedinger, GE HealthCare is in the enablement business – they aim to develop technology that enables anesthesiologists to deliver safe anesthesia with less agent, less waste, and lower costs while better managing staffing levels and maximizing team collaboration.

Creating reliable technologies that reduce variability in care and help clinicians collaborate over distances, ensuring patient care is safe and effective, is a high bar. And just as ASA can’t solve all the challenges we face alone, Industry Supporters like GE HealthCare need relationships to advance their goals as well. JW Beard, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Patient Care Solutions, GE HealthCare – and an anesthesiologist – said GE HealthCare “exists to solve clinical problems, improve patient outcomes and the lives of clinicians, and to favorably impact hospitals and health systems.” For GE HealthCare and Dr. Beard, advancing such lofty goals begins with the technology development process, which means understanding unmet user needs is a must. Although GE HealthCare has rich and diverse internal resources to help them gain insight into user needs, collaborations like the one they share with ASA set them up to listen more actively to the anesthesiology community. This means, because of our relationship, GE HealthCare has a deeper awareness of anesthesiologists’ values, priorities, challenges, and fears. It means they’re better equipped to test assumptions and innovate toward solutions that can make a real difference for patients and clinicians. Having anesthesiologists like Dr. Beard on the leadership team helps, too. After 12 years of clinical practice, he now brings a perspective that complements the points of view of business and technology leaders, translating the experiences of clinical users so the team has a robust understanding of clinician needs.

What are those needs? Dr. Beard is focused, in part, on staffing issues. “The need to support the clinicians who care for patients in complex, and occasionally physically distant, environments is an emerging challenge in perioperative medicine,” he said. “Technology solutions can play a role in addressing the challenges efficiently and effectively.” Sustainability is another priority for the team at GE HealthCare. With the growing understanding of the impact of volatile anesthetics as greenhouse gases, GE HealthCare has invested in technologies that support the practice of low-flow anesthesia so they’re contributing to a simplified process, thereby improving the low-flow anesthesia delivery.

From patient safety and provider care, to sustainability, access, and efficiencies, ASA and GE HealthCare share similar concerns, and the relationship helps us both move closer to our goals, advancing the field of anesthesia and patient care. The collaborative working relationship benefits both parties. For its part, ASA gains resources and knowledge. And for GE HealthCare, participating in ASA meetings, events, and symposia and supporting the society’s educational priorities means they understand the specialty and its clinicians better and are positioned to think creatively about opportunities to be effective.

GE HealthCare feels that their team is successful when clinicians are successful and that aligning with organizations like ASA helps them develop technology that can favorably impact care. “The wonderfully collaborative relationship we share with ASA gives us a better sense of what’s happening on the front lines so we can bring innovations to market that truly matter,” Ruedinger said. “The work we do together means the solutions we advance are better for physicians, patients, the health care economy, and the many communities we serve.” That is a goal we can all get behind.