Featured Member - Kai Kuck, PhD

Kai Kuck, PhD

President, Society for Technology in Anesthesia (STA)
Professor of Anesthesiology
Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering
Harry C. Wong Presidential Endowed Chair in Anesthesiology
Director of Bioengineering, Department of Anesthesiology


Throughout my work, I have been involved in the research and development of innovative medical technologies with a focus on anesthesia and critical care. My areas of focus include cardiorespiratory monitoring, intelligent decision support, and ventilation.

My experience covers the whole range from hands-on engineering for hardware, software, algorithm, and graphical user interface development all the way to managing projects, programs, and large teams of researchers. In my last position I oversaw the research of Dräger, the global market leader in anesthesia equipment and critical care ventilation, Since 2014, in my role as Director of Bioengineering at the University of Utah’s Department of Anesthesiology, I have the privilege of working closely with clinicians and learning about real-world needs and opportunities for technologies.

Because transforming healthcare increasingly involves innovations at the system and workflow level, this collaborative approach is essential to creating technologies that address real needs in the clinic.


What are you thinking about:  

I am thinking about how to take perioperative and anesthesia related data, learn from it, and then translate the learnings into clinical tools that can be used to help improve anesthesia patient care. With my biomedical engineering background, it also fascinates me to think about combining data and devices – both in terms of devices (think: wearables, mobile devices) that capture data and in terms of devices that use data.

Why is this interesting to you:  

Industries, such as retail, financial services, marketing, are way ahead of healthcare and anesthesiology when it comes to using data to improve what they deliver. Currently, health IT has only begun to scratch the surface of its potential to improve care delivery. As these other industries are showing us, there is so much more potential. MPOG is building the infrastructure for data collection, multi-site collaboration, enhancing electronic data with context, data-based research, and translation into clinically usable tools.

What are the practical implications for healthcare: 

Practical implications include the fact that we could then provide clinically useful information and decision support to clinicians who put so much work into entering data into electronic health records (EHR). We will likely be able to personalize healthcare delivery in a much more accurate manner than today. And finally, we could relieve anesthesiologists from some of the more tedious tasks, which computers are much better at than humans (store massive amounts of data, and then recall, select, and filter the data to be more relevant to one specific patient).  As a result, patient outcome will be better and healthcare delivery more efficient than today.