Colonoscopy: practice variation among 69 hospital-based endoscopists

Gastrointest Endosc. 2003 Mar;57(3):352-7. doi: 10.1067/mge.2003.121.


Background: The medical profession, payers, and patients are interested increasingly in the quality of endoscopic procedures, including colonoscopy. The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy has recommended "report cards" by which endoscopists may keep track of certain key elements of their practice including indications, findings, duration, technical end points, complications, and patient satisfaction.

Methods: The GI-Trac endoscopy reporting database includes many of the data points recommended by ASGE for report cards. Seven hospital centers in North America have been collecting data prospectively for varying periods since 1994. These data were aggregated and analyzed by individual endoscopist. A total of 69 endoscopists performed 17,868 colonoscopies.

Results: Twelve percent of the endoscopists reported that more than 20% of procedures they performed were completely normal. The average time taken by 27% of endoscopists was more than 40 minutes (without trainees involved), and only 55% achieved a cecal intubation rate of over 90%; for 9% the rate was less than 80%. Complication rates were too low for individual comparisons.

Conclusion: These data provide an idea of colonoscopy performance by individual endoscopists in mainly academic centers. Incorporating all recommended data elements in future reporting databases will contribute to meaningful bench marking and to quality improvement efforts.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Canada
  • Colonoscopy* / standards
  • Colonoscopy* / statistics & numerical data
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'* / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • United States


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives