An easy-to-use solution for clinical audit in colorectal cancer surgery

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Background.Clinical audit has been increasingly required for the accreditation process in every modern healthcare system. Data collection and analysis are excessively time-consuming in everyday practice. The primary aim of our study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative database to assist surgeons in monitoring clinical practice outcomes in colorectal cancer surgery. The second purpose was to compare observed mortality rates to 3 risk-predicting operative scoring systems.Methods.Data were evaluated from 208 consecutive patients undergoing elective and emergency surgery for colorectal cancer over a 2-year period (2003–2004). A new database was developed with specific queries to compare the observed and the expected mortality rates according to 3 scoring systems: the Portsmouth-Physiological and Operative Severity Score for enUmeration of Mortality and morbidity (P-POSSUM), the ColoRectal-Physiological and Operative Severity Score for enUmeration of Mortality and morbidity (CR-POSSUM), and the Association of ColoProctology or Great Britain & Ireland (ACPGBI) score. Results were discussed at regular intervals. Surgeons' satisfaction with each system was evaluated with a questionnaire.Results.The observed mortality rate was 6.25%, which was significantly lower than the values predicted by CR-POSSUM and ACPGBI colorectal scores (9.14% and 19.42%, respectively; P < .05). P-POSSUM was the most accurate predictor of mortality, with a value of 7.93%. A total of 80% of the surgical staff considered this type of surgical audit activity as clinically useful.Conclusion.The study confirms the usefulness of a dedicated database in a surgical audit activity. The ACPGBI colorectal score largely overestimated 30-day mortality in our experience.

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