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Reviews of Educational Material  |   October 1997
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) 
Author Notes
  • Reviewer; Associate Professor of Anesthesia; University of California, San Francisco; 521 Parnassus; San Francisco, California 94143–0648; rampil@sirius.com.
  • James C. Eisenach, M.D., Editor.
Article Information
Reviews of Educational Material
Reviews of Educational Material   |   October 1997
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) 
Anesthesiology 10 1997, Vol.87, 1026. doi:
Anesthesiology 10 1997, Vol.87, 1026. doi:
URL:http://www.asahq.org
Author/Web Masters: Jill Sidoti(j.sidoti@asahq.org), Janice Plank (j.plack@asahq.org)
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has taken the lead in providing an Internet presence for the specialty of anesthesiology and designed it to appeal to the general public and professionals. This site and its contents were originally designed by Dr. Stanley Stead at UCLA at the request of the ASA Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology. Now being maintained by the ASA headquarters staff, it has been substantially redesigned and greatly expanded.
Quality of Information 
The ASA site is almost unique among the web sites devoted to anesthesiology in that essentially all of the clinical information has undergone rigorous peer-review. Among the documents available are the detailed Practice Guidelines developed by ASA Task Forces. There are also a variety of Practice Management tools and position papers related to contracting, legal rights and liability, and dealing with Medicare. As might be expected in a political organization like the ASA, considerable space is devoted to the elected officers, to policy, and to the national political efforts of the Washington, D.C. office. For the general public, the ASA provides a section labeled “What is Anesthesiology,” which discusses “Scope of Practice,”“Research Activities,” and “Patient Safety” and “Legislative Activities,”“Membership,” and “Publications.” The presence of the latter sections and the writing level and tone of the former, however, leads one to question exactly who the audience might be for this section. The site also has a Public Education page that contains a mixture of links to patient brochures and to items directed specifically at physician members. The graphic layout of the site is a combination of very nicely rendered iconic elements and what some might consider overuse of “frames” and tabular lists with small type.
Quality of Links 
The ASA pages are appropriately crosslinked as hypertext should be. A cornucopia of external links are also provided. These external links are up-to-date and include professional societies, departments, and publications.
Search Capability 
The ASA site has a competent search engine that can scan the contents of all of the site's pages.
Summary 
The ASA has created a Web site that is a true public service. Anxious patients may satisfy their curiosity or prepare themselves for an informed conversation with their anesthesiologist. Members now have a convenient source of official publications, news from Washington, and contact information.
Reviewer
Ira J. Rampil, M.S., M.D.
Associate Professor of Anesthesia; University of California, San Francisco; 521 Parnassus; San Francisco, California 94143–0648
rampil@sirius.com