Active involvement of anesthesiologists in perioperative management is important to ensure the patients' safety. This study aimed to investigate the state of anesthetic services in Korea by identifying anesthetic service providers. From the insurance claims data of National Health Insurance for 3 yr, the Korean state of anesthetic services was analyzed. The claims for anesthesia from the medical institutions which hire their own anesthesiologist or with an anesthesiologist invitation fee are assumed to be the anesthesia performed by anesthesiologists. The annual anesthetic data were similar during the study period. In 2013, total counts of 2,129,871 were composed with general anesthesia (55%), regional anesthesia (36%) and procedural sedation with intravenous anesthetics (9%). About 80% of total cases of general anesthesia were performed in general hospitals, while more than 60% of the regional anesthesia and sedation were performed in the clinics and hospitals under 100 beds. Non-anesthesiologists performed 273,006 cases of anesthesia (13% of total) including 36,008 of general anesthesia, 143,134 of regional anesthesia, and 93,864 of sedation, mainly in the clinics and hospitals under 100 beds. All procedural sedations in the institutions without direct employed anesthesiologist were performed by non-anesthesiologists. Significant numbers of anesthesia are performed by nonanesthesiologist in Korea. To promote anesthetic services that prioritize the safety of patients, the standard to qualify anesthetic service is required. Surgeons and patients need to enhance their perception of anesthesia, and the payment system should be revised in a way that advocates anesthesiologist-performed anesthetic services.
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