Electronic synoptic operative reporting: assessing the reliability and completeness of synoptic reports for pancreatic resection

J Am Coll Surg. 2010 Sep;211(3):308-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2010.05.008. Epub 2010 Jul 14.


Background: Electronic synoptic operative reports (E-SORs) have replaced dictated reports at many institutions, but whether E-SORs adequately document the components and findings of an operation has received limited study. This study assessed the reliability and completeness of E-SORs for pancreatic surgery developed at our institution.

Study design: An attending surgeon and surgical fellow prospectively and independently completed an E-SOR after each of 112 major pancreatic resections (78 proximal, 29 distal, and 5 central) over a 10-month period (September 2008 to June 2009). Reliability was assessed by calculating the interobserver agreement between attending physician and fellow reports. Completeness was assessed by comparing E-SORs to a case-matched (surgeon and procedure) historical control of dictated reports, using a 39-item checklist developed through an internal and external query of 13 high-volume pancreatic surgeons.

Results: Interobserver agreement between attending and fellow was moderate to very good for individual categorical E-SOR items (kappa = 0.65 to 1.00, p < 0.001 for all items). Compared with dictated reports, E-SORs had significantly higher completeness checklist scores (mean 88.8 +/- 5.4 vs 59.6 +/- 9.2 [maximum possible score, 100], p < 0.01) and were available in patients' electronic records in a significantly shorter interval of time (median 0.5 vs 5.8 days from case end, p < 0.01). The mean time taken to complete E-SORs was 4.0 +/- 1.6 minutes per case.

Conclusions: E-SORs for pancreatic surgery are reliable, complete in data collected, and rapidly available, all of which support their clinical implementation. The inherent strengths of E-SORs offer real promise of a new standard for operative reporting and health communication.

MeSH terms

  • Electronics*
  • Forms and Records Control* / organization & administration
  • Forms and Records Control* / standards
  • Forms and Records Control* / trends
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Period
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized* / organization & administration
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized* / standards
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized* / trends
  • Observer Variation
  • Pancreatectomy*
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results