AUGIS and ALS have produced a robust and accurate database for our most commonly performed operations. Over the years we have seen attempts at self-reported databases but theses will always be flawed by the problems of low uptake and selective reporting, meaning that they are of very limited value. In addition they have proved expensive to run and most have been discontinued.
The Surgical Workload Outcomes Audit Database (SWORD) is an internet-based website – currently being upgraded – which can be accessed from this or the ALS website. It runs on HES data and identifies all NHS operations performed in England. Phase one shows data on cholecystectomy, anti-reflux surgery and hernia surgery. The data is sorted by Consultant attribution coding (ie: all work performed in your name) and grouped into hospital trust and regional levels. The data on the website is updated quarterly and is only accessible to AUGIS and ALS Consultant members. It is pseudonomised (ie each consultant has an individual code but that code will only be given to that consultant).
The data allows you to see activity using a mixture of a standard dashboard data (eg re-operation rates, readmission rates, length of stay, day case rates) and data related specifically to that procedure (eg for cholecystectomy – proportion of cholecystectomies carried out within 10 days of an episode of pancreatitis or cholecystitis). You will also be able to compare yourself to your peers locally and also to the national averages. In the Consultant view you will be able to screen print summary sheets of your activity for that year for your appraisal folder.
The number of procedures available will gradually increase over the next year (there are five more already nearing completion) and we are exploring its applicability to Cancer operations as well.