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Medical Practice

Audit of a surgical firm by microcomputer: five years' experience

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 05 March 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:687
  1. D C Dunn


    From 1982 to 1986 inclusive work of one surgical firm was audited with a microcomputer. Data were recorded on 4336 patients having 3355 operations, who were under the care of one consultant in a general surgical unit; fifty items of information were recorded on each patient, allowing a wide range of analyses to be performed—for example, the number of admissions and operations, grades of operation, diagnostic grouping, complications, and complication rates associated with individual surgeons. Data collected for the audit provided a valuable baseline for the unit, defining aspects of practice that could be reviewed and improved. During the audit the overall rate of complications as a percentage of admissions fell significantly from 13% to 9% and the rate of postoperative complications decreased significantly from 16% in 1982 to 11% in 1986. The incidence of chest and wound infections also decreased significantly. The system was improved by using the data to produce discharge summaries as well as audit; the microcomputer thus became an integral part of the office work of the unit.

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