Accurate registration of adverse surgical outcomes is essential to detect areas for improvement of surgical care quality. One reason for inaccurate adverse outcome registration may be the method to collect these outcomes. The authors compared the completeness of the national complication registry database (LHCR) as used in our hospital with relevant information from other available resources.
Retrospective reliability analysis.
From the 3252 patients admitted to the surgical wards in 2010, the authors randomly selected a cohort of 180 cases, oversampling those with adverse outcomes. The LHCR contains adverse outcomes as reported during morning hand-offs or in discharge letters. The authors checked if the number and severity of adverse outcomes recorded in the LHCR agreed with those reported in morning hand-offs, discharge letters and medical and nursing files.
In 135 of 180 patients, all resources could be retrieved completely. Fourteen per cent of the patients with adverse outcomes were not recorded in the LHCR. Missing adverse outcomes were all reversible without the need for (re)operation, for example, postoperative pain, delirium or urinary tract complications. Only 38% of these adverse outcomes were reported in the morning hand-offs and discharge letters but were best reported in the medical and nursing files.
Registration of surgical adverse outcomes appears largely depending on the reliability of the underlying sources. For a more complete adverse outcome registration, the authors advocate a better hand-off and additional consultation of the patient's dossier. This extra effort allows for improvement actions to eventually avoid ‘mild’ adverse outcomes patients perceive as important and undesirable.
How complete is the national surgical complication registry as applied in a university hospital?
Should we use more or other resources to achieve a more complete registry of adverse outcomes?
Registration of surgical adverse outcomes largely depends on the reliability of the underlying resources.
Better hand-off and additional consultation of the patient's dossier will increase the reliability.
This extra effort can help avoid ‘mild’ adverse outcomes patients perceive as important and undesirable.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Representative data set from a consistently used registry.
Only inhospital adverse outcomes were taken into account.