Searching for the Next Partner: Allied’s Recruitment Process

Posted on 08/29/19 by Allied Anesthesia

Allied Anesthesia began as a group of Orange County anesthesiologists loosely affiliated with one another, but all deeply committed to providing the top anesthesia care in Southern California. Fast-forward to today: Allied’s group is now made up of over 100 anesthesiologists who have each traversed one of the most rigorous vetting processes in the country. 

If you’re interested in working with an anesthesia group with a proven record and rock-solid history in the Southern California medical community, then look no further than Allied Anesthesia.

How Does Allied’s Vetting Process Work?

Allied consistently finds the “cream of the crop” of anesthesiology talent. But what does it look like behind the scenes of the vetting process?

In short, Allied is looking for anesthesiologists who will become a leader in the field. While a prospect who has recently completed a fellowship is ideal, it is not required. Ultimately, we are on the lookout for the needles in the haystacks, the hidden gems in the field who will prove to be all-around excellent, patient-centric, team-oriented anesthesiologists. We are seeking anesthesiologists who endeavor to become leaders for the entire specialty. Does this sound like you?

“The most important asset of Allied Anesthesia by far are the anesthesiologists. That’s why we continue to select only the best candidates like we have for years. This is also why we prioritize offering the best package possible to all our physicians.” – Edward Lee, Lead Recruiter, Allied Anesthesia

Allied’s recruiting and interview process intentionally focuses on the top 1% of anesthesiologists. Our vetting process includes not only the typical fare such as letters of recommendation and interviews, but also an extensive oral interview very similar to a board exam. For those who are offered a commitment letter, they can also expect to proctor about 20 cases alongside other anesthesiologists to demonstrate their capacity in the operating room.

Since we recently reopened our partnership track, we expect that we will continue to attract the top talent in the field, even as the competition for anesthesiologists becomes even tighter.

Allied’s Accolades: Could You Be Our Next Partner?

Allied has received a 5-Star Excellence Award from Professional Research Consultants for three consecutive years. Allied is a founding participant in the National Anesthesia Quality Institute, a first-of-its-kind national program designed to compare performance among anesthesia providers from coast to coast.

Allied anesthesiologists are the exclusive anesthesia providers in California’s second-busiest operating rooms. We safely perform more than 11,000 pediatric anesthesiology procedures annually.

Interested in Applying to Allied?

If you feel you are a qualified candidate for Allied, contact our lead recruiter, Edward Lee, via email. Please also include your CV and a cover letter:

Edward Lee
Allied Anesthesia Recruiter
[email protected]

 

Dr. Jack Canton, M.D. - Allied Anesthesia

How Does Allied Anesthesia Work?

Posted on 07/29/19 by Allied Anesthesia

You’re a patient who’s heard about Allied Anesthesia, and now you want to ensure you receive treatment from one of our group’s top-notch anesthesiologists for your surgery or pain management. But, as is the case with a lot of healthcare-related endeavors, it’s not always so simple as requesting a doctor. Here’s a brief overview of who we are, how we work, and how we can help provide the best anesthesiology services for your procedure.

What is Allied Anesthesia?

Allied Anesthesia is a group of over 100 Southern California anesthesiologists who have passed a rigorous vetting process to represent the top 1% in their field. They provide anesthesia services for pediatric and adult operations, surgeries, and pain management procedures for several hospitals in the region. The group is carefully structured and managed to ensure top performance across the board.

How can I ensure an Allied Anesthesia group member handles my anesthesia needs during my procedure?

Our group is the exclusive anesthesiology provider for a number of hospitals and medical facilities, so the best way to ensure that you’re treated by one of our physicians is to receive treatment at one of these locations. Check out our General Inquiry page to view a full list of our affiliated locations.

How does Allied Anesthesia partner with healthcare organizations and hospitals?

Usually, we contract with a surgery center or hospital to provide all anesthesia services for that facility. As per this contract, we will reliably staff their facility with our group’s anesthesiologists and provide coverage for any type of surgery. We will also provide the facility with physicians who hold different sub-specializations to meet almost any need. Allied anesthesiologists are not direct employees of our partner hospitals or medical facilities and are independently contracted with almost all insurance carriers.

I’d like to consult with an anesthesiologist outside of the operating room for pain management. Am I able to directly book an appointment with one of AA’s physicians?

Our group includes several physicians who can be seen directly for pain management. Generally speaking, these doctors perform interventional pain management procedures that aim to treat the root cause of pain rather than provide chronic care with medication. If you’re interested in consulting with one of these specialists, please fill out our General Inquiry form and mention that you’re seeking a direct appointment for pain management.

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For other questions regarding Allied Anesthesiology’s practices, please check out our Patient FAQ section, or fill out a General Inquiry form at the link above. It’s our pleasure to do all we can to help get you the answers and care you need.

 

Two teenagers with juvenile arthritis stretching on football field

July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month

Posted on 07/03/19 by Allied Anesthesia

Arthritis is generally thought of as an ailment of the elderly, an inflammation of the joints that can be caused by a number of age-related factors. But juvenile arthritis – which occurs in patients 16 and under – affects over 300,000 children and teens in the US alone. In honor of Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month, we’ve compiled some information to shed some light on this lesser-known condition.

What causes juvenile arthritis?

The exact cause of juvenile arthritis is idiopathic, or unknown, but physicians and researchers classify it as an autoimmune disorder. This means that it occurs as a result of the body mistaking its own systems for harmful foreign substances. As a result, the body attacks itself as it would a virus or bacteria, producing symptoms that can range from mild to debilitating. In the case of juvenile arthritis, these symptoms manifest as a swelling of the synovium – the tissue that lines the joints – causing pain, stiffness, and a potential loss of motion in various joints in the body.

There are actually several different types of juvenile arthritis that present themselves in different areas of the body. These include Stills disease (also called systemic arthritis), oligoarthritis (also called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), polyarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and enthesitis-related arthritis.

How is juvenile arthritis diagnosed?

Often times, juvenile arthritis does not present any symptoms, or its symptoms are easily misattributed to another illness. To get the correct diagnosis, physicians will likely use process of elimination, first testing for other more common ailments like bone disorders, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, lupus, or cancer via blood tests, bone scans, x-rays, or joint-fluid sampling. Once those have been ruled out, and arthritis is determined as the likely culprit, additional tests will be conducted to discern what kind of arthritis is present.

How is juvenile arthritis treated?

Exercises, medication, and, in some cases, operations, can help alleviate the pain, swelling, and lack of mobility associated with juvenile arthritis, and help to prevent further damage to the joints. Allied Anesthesia’s physicians not only provide general anesthesia for children undergoing arthritis-related surgery, but also help to administer acute postoperative pain management treatments for those suffering from the condition. The physicians assigned to juvenile arthritis patients are deeply committed to their treatment, and work closely with the families affected over time to ensure the best possible care.

Does juvenile arthritis ever go away?

While there is no definitive cure for the condition, pain and swelling can be managed with effective ongoing treatment. There are also cases where children outgrow their arthritis as they enter adulthood, though this is not the norm. The good news is that research and funding is helping to develop new, more effective treatments for the condition. To find out more, head to https://curearthritis.org/juvenile-arthritis-awareness-month/.

Woman under anesthesia - eco-friendly

Can Anesthesia Go Green?

Posted on 06/25/19 by Allied Anesthesia

Did you know that some forms of anesthesia are greener than others? It’s true. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times shared the story of Dr. Brian Chesebro, a Portland, Oregon-based anesthesiologist who decided to conduct some independent research on the sustainability of different types of anesthesia. He focused on sevoflurane and desflurane, two commonly used anesthetic gases.

Used in a wide range of procedures, anesthetic gases are inhaled by patients through breathing masks. Most of the gas is exhaled—only about 5% is actually metabolized—and sucked into a ventilation system, which ultimately carries it up to the roof and into the atmosphere.

What Dr. Chesebro discovered upon further investigation surprised him (and many others in the medical and environmental fields): desflurane has catastrophic impacts on the environment. In fact, the amount of desflurane used in a typical procedure does the same amount of environmental damage as a fleet of 12 Hummers operating for the same duration of time. When it comes to trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, desflurane is 20 times more powerful than sevoflurane, and it remains in the atmosphere for much longer—14 years—as opposed to a single year for sevoflurane.

There is good news. Thanks to these findings, anesthesiologists can make better-informed decisions about what  anesthetics to use. We’re pleased to share that propofol, the anesthetic preferred by the doctors here at Allied, has very minimal environmental impact. However, it’s important to note that we do use anesthetic gases—including desflurane—in some procedures. But we administer the more sustainable sevoflurane much more frequently than desflurane. In fact, we only use desflurane in special cases, when the benefits of patient safety with desflurane clearly outweigh other anesthetic options. Furthermore, whenever we use any anesthetic agent, we make a point to use them in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

Infant baby in hospital after surgery anesthesia

Infants, Anesthesia & Safety

Posted on 06/13/19 by Allied Anesthesia

Many of the doctors here at Allied Anesthesia are pediatric anesthesia experts and parents. We know how stressful it can be to have a child undergo a significant medical procedure and receive general anesthesia—especially when the child is very young and unable to understand what’s going on or communicate how they are feeling. More importantly, many parents are concerned that general anesthesia could negatively impact their child’s development, particularly if the child is an infant.

While this is an understandable concern, the science shows that general anesthesia is safe for pediatric patients. A recent study published in The Lancet found that general anesthesia poses no more risk in babies than regional anesthesia. Because most minor surgeries in babies do not take longer than an hour, the study, which included 722 infants in 7 countries, compared an hour of general anesthesia to an hour of regional anesthesia. When the children were assessed for IQ, attention, memory, executive function and behavior at age five, there were no differences between the children who had received general anesthesia and those who had received regional anesthesia.

At Allied, we have considerable experience in administering anesthesia to infants, including both premature and full-term babies. Our youngest pediatric patients can be as young as 28 weeks (gestational age). We even provide anesthesia to babies that haven’t been born yet! In these instances, known as EXIT procedures, we administer anesthesia to babies in utero that may have airway malformations so they can be delivered safely.

From our own experience and research, we know that general anesthesia, when administered carefully and correctly, is safe for use in infants, but we always appreciate studies like these that we can share with patients (or more likely, their parents).

If you’re a parent and your pediatrician has recommended a surgery that involves general anesthesia, we encourage you to talk more to your child’s doctor and get in touch with us here at Allied to learn more about our pediatric expertise.

It’s also important to know that you’re not alone—many parents are surprised to learn that general anesthesia in young children is actually fairly common. The same Lancet study notes that by age three, about 1 in 10 children will have undergone general anesthesia at least once for procedures like hernia repair, ear tube placement, tonsil removal or MRI completion.

Surgeons applying anesthesia to patient

Local, Regional, General, and Everything in Between: The Different Types of Anesthesia, Explained

Posted on 06/03/19 by Allied Anesthesia

Patients frequently ask us about the difference between the types of anesthesia available, how each kind is used, and what we recommend for specific procedures. For example, we’re often asked, “Do I need local or regional anesthesia?” or “What’s the difference between general anesthesia and twilight?”

To answer those questions and many others, we’ve developed this easy-to-understand guide to local, regional, and general anesthesia, how they’re used, and what to expect.

Local Anesthesia

What It Does: Temporarily numbs a small portion of the body for outpatient or minor procedures
Administered Via: Injection or topical application
Patient Status: Conscious
May Be Administered With: Sedative for relaxation or sleep
Side Effects: Numbness, weakness, tingling

Regional Anesthesia

Also Known As: Regional nerve block, conscious sedation
What It Does: Temporarily blocks pain in the portion of the body that will be affected by the procedure
Administered Via: Injection in a cluster of nerves (e.g., spinal, epidural)
Patient Status: Conscious or, in some cases, asleep if sedatives are also used
May Be Administered With: Sedative for relaxation or sleep
Side Effects: Numbness, weakness

General Anesthesia

Also Known As: Deep sleep, twilight
What It Does: Keeps patient unconscious and still throughout procedure with no awareness of pain or memory of the event
Administered Via: Breathing mask or IV
Patient Status: Unconscious
May Be Administered With: Sedatives for relaxation, breathing tube
Side Effects: Depends on type of anesthetic used, but side effects can include nausea, fatigue, irritability

A Closer Look at Anesthesia vs. Sedation

Anesthesia, as a general term, typically refers to two different types of drugs: anesthetics, which reduce or prevent pain by impacting the nervous system, and sedatives, which relax patients and, depending on the dosage, can keep them “asleep” during a procedure and unable to feel, hear, move, or remember the event.

While terms like “conscious sedation” and “twilight” are widely used in the medical field, there are some misconceptions about how they are related to general anesthesia.

If a patient is asleep and cannot respond to commands, they are under general anesthesia. If a patient is conscious and can respond to commands but cannot feel pain, they are “consciously sedated” (using a sedative) and an anesthetic has also been used, either regionally or locally, to block or prevent pain.

“Twilight” is general anesthesia, though some healthcare practitioners may use it to refer to general anesthesia that has fewer side effects (grogginess, fatigue, nausea, etc.) than other general anesthesia. The difference in side effects is typically a result of the amount and type of medication used.

At Allied Anesthesia, we prefer to use the sedative propofol for general anesthesia. When administered by experts, propofol allows patients to wake up with virtually no lasting side effects. Plus, most patients can breathe on their own when receiving propofol, so we can avoid intubation entirely.

Ultimately, the type of anesthesia used for any given procedure is determined based on a number of factors, including patient health and the procedure itself, but now that you know a little more about your options, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your doctor.

Women in hospital bed with husband and nurses in the room

Why Anesthesia is Important for IVF

Posted on 05/08/19 by Allied Anesthesia

In July 1978, Louise Brown was born in England; she was the first baby born who had been conceived via IVF. Though the fertilization process, led by Sir Robert Edwards and Dr. Patrick Steptoe, took place in a petri dish before being implanted into Louise’s mother’s uterus, Louise was commonly referred to as the first “test tube baby.”

In the forty-plus years since, the use of IVF has increased dramatically—and the technology has evolved along with it. Today, approximately 1-2% of all U.S. births annually are via IVF.

By enabling women with fertility issues or genetic problems to become pregnant, IVF has changed the lives of millions. In 2010, Sir Robert Edwards was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his role in developing the procedure. But as groundbreaking as IVF is, it’s well known to be an arduous and taxing process for women—physically, emotionally and financially. As a result, there is considerable incentive to achieve pregnancy in as few rounds of IVF as possible. While many people may not associate IVF with anesthesia, it can play a critical role in minimizing pain and optimizing success in IVF.

IVF begins with taking a medication that stimulates follicles in the ovaries to produce eggs. Once the eggs are produced and mature, they are retrieved via surgery. During the egg retrieval, a doctor will typically use an ultrasound to locate the follicles and eggs, and then carefully extract the eggs using a thin, hollow needle and a suction device.

For years, anesthesia was not used in the egg retrieval process. Though the egg retrieval is fairly quick—typically taking between 20-30 minutes—at best, it’s uncomfortable. At worst, it’s extremely painful.

Today, most doctors use some sort of sedation during the procedure, including regional anesthesia, “conscious sedation,” in which the patient is awake and can respond to commands, and general anesthesia, in which the patient is asleep. At Allied, we work with multiple IVF clinics to provide anesthesia during the egg retrieval process. Propofol is our anesthetic of choice for IVF procedures for a few reasons:

  • Patients are completely asleep and feel no pain during the procedure, enabling the doctor to carefully extract as many eggs as possible.
  • Patients can easily wake from the procedure quickly and experience minimal side effects (unlike the fatigue, nausea and other side effects common with other sedatives).
  • When administered by an expert, propofol does not require intubation.

While we highly recommend incorporating a skilled anesthesiologist into the egg retrieval process, we strongly encourage women undergoing egg retrieval to have a conversation with their doctor about how best to minimize discomfort and optimize results.

Bottle of opioid pills and needle

Doing Our Part to Solve the Opioid Crisis

Posted on 04/24/19 by Allied Anesthesia

It’s no secret that there’s a countrywide opioid crisis. According to the National Institute of Health, more than 130 Americans die each day from overdosing on some kind of opioid: prescription opioids, heroin, fentanyl, and others. This crisis didn’t come out of nowhere—it’s been brewing for nearly three decades and is a result of a number of different elements: over-prescription by healthcare providers, a lack of awareness about how addictive opioids can be, a disproportionate focus on subjective measures of pain control, and a skewed reimbursement system. With so many contributing factors, it comes as no surprise that there is no easy fix.

Restricting opioid prescriptions has been floated as one viable method for cutting down on opioid related overdoses, and there has been some success here; according to the FDA,  the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies is at a 15 year low. But cutting back on opioid prescription has its own unintended and severe consequences:

  • People are turning to unregulated, illegal substances (e.g., heroin) as a less expensive and more accessible alternative
  • Many people with acute or chronic pain are not getting the treatment they need to function

Recent legislation aimed to address the crisis by limiting opioid prescriptions for acute pain—like the pain that may occur after a surgery—to just seven days. Though this well-intentioned bill is careful to focus solely on acute pain, rather than chronic pain, the potential consequences are problematic across the board.

The National Institutes of Health reported recently that about 25.3 million adults experienced pain every day for 3 months while nearly 40 million adults experience severe levels of pain. For many of these people, opioids are critical to their ability to function on a daily basis.

So how do we solve a national health crisis that affects the lives of so many Americans? It’s going to take a significant amount of collaboration on the part of healthcare providers, insurers, drug companies and governmental regulatory bodies.

For our part, we are determined to help our patients manage chronic or acute pain effectively and responsibly. There are a couple of ways we do that.

While we do use opioids to help patients cope with acute post-operative pain, we often rely on other methods, like individual nerve blocks, epidurals and other types of steroid injections to reduce pain or “numb” a certain area. In fact, regional nerve blocks often mean that patients are completely pain-free for 24-72 hours after surgery. By the time the nerve block wears off, many patients no longer need or want opioids; they are able to find pain relief with over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

For patients suffering from severe chronic pain, we do sometimes prescribe (and carefully manage) opioids if other methods are not working and opioids dramatically improve a patient’s quality of life.

As more solutions arise for opioid crisis, we are committed to working with other players in the healthcare space to do our part. As always, patients come first—we’ll continue to explore multiple pain-relief alternatives while also being conscientious and mindful in our use of opioids for pain management.

Does Anesthesia Affect Childhood Development? New Research Says No.

Posted on 04/17/19 by Allied Anesthesia

Undergoing serious medical procedures can be stressful at any age, but when you’re a parent and the patient is your young child, it’s particularly worrying. Aside from concerns about the nature of the procedure itself, many parents are hesitant to expose children to general anesthesia for fear that the medicine might have a negative impact on their child’s developing brain. Good news: it won’t.

A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that exposure to anesthesia does not inhibit a child’s brain development. The study followed nearly 10,000 sibling pairs between the ages of 5 and 6 who had Early Development Instrument (EDI) data completed prior to the study. The EDI assesses a child’s readiness and ability to learn based on five different factors:

  1. Physical health and well-being
  2. Social knowledge and competence
  3. Emotional health and maturity
  4. Language and cognitive development
  5. Communication skills and general knowledge

In more than 2,000 pairs (of the original 10,000+), one but not both siblings had undergone a surgery requiring general anesthesia. Upon evaluating the pairs, it was determined that there were no developmental differences between siblings who had been exposed to general anesthesia and those who hadn’t.

While previous studies using rat models suggested that anesthesia could impact the developing brain, these new findings make it clear that those results are specific to the species and not applicable to human children.

Even with these encouraging results, surgery or medical procedures requiring general anesthesia in young children is stressful for parents. We get it—that’s why our award-winning team includes board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists. Many of our doctors are parents themselves, so they know how important it is to give our pediatric patients the best available care.

From pediatric cardiothoracic services to complex pediatric pain blocks to rare conditions, our pediatric anesthesiologists handle more than 15,000 cases per year—and in every one, our utmost concerns are ensuring our little patients’ safety and easing any discomfort or pain they might have. Learn more about our pediatric specialists.

Prescription bottles laying together

Take Back Your Drugs on April 27

Posted on 04/11/19 by Allied Anesthesia

In 2017, at least 6 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Many of these prescription drugs were taken from the medicine cabinets of friends and family members.

If you’ve ever had a pain medicine prescription following a procedure, you may not have ended up using all of the medication. Once you’re feeling better, it’s not uncommon to forget about the prescription medication completely or decide to save it in case the pain returns.

Unfortunately, unused or expired medication is very easily lost, stolen or misused. In an effort to reduce the impact of this misuse—which includes addiction, overdose and accidental poisoning—the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) established April 27 as National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

There are Take Back days in both April and October, and with thousands of collection sites across the country, it’s easy to safely (and anonymously) drop off unused prescriptions and controlled substances. Last year, 949,046 pounds (or about 475 tons) of drugs were collected from 5,842 sites and disposed of safely by the DEA.

What about simply throwing unused medication out or flushing it down the toilet? There are a few reasons why these disposal methods are strongly discouraged:

  • Even when in the trash, drugs can easily be stolen and then illegally used or sold.
  • If drugs are thrown out, the active chemicals in the medications can pose a danger to sanitation workers. Once in a landfill, these chemicals can damage the surrounding environment or seep into water sources.
  • Medicines that are flushed down the toilet are frequently not removed by water treatment plants or septic systems. These chemicals can end up polluting water sources, poisoning animals and contaminating our food and water supplies.

Keep your family, friends, community and environment safe this spring and find a time this month to collect your unused and expired prescription medicines. Then find a nearby collection site and safely dispose of your medications on April 27. We’ll be doing it too!