Benchmarking of surgical complications in gynaecological oncology: prospective multicentre study.
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OBJECTIVE: To explore the impact of risk-adjustment on surgical complication rates (CRs) for benchmarking gynaecological oncology centres. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: Ten UK accredited gynaecological oncology centres. POPULATION: Women undergoing major surgery on a gynaecological oncology operating list. METHODS: Patient co-morbidity, surgical procedures and intra-operative (IntraOp) complications were recorded contemporaneously by surgeons for 2948 major surgical procedures. Postoperative (PostOp) complications were collected from hospitals and patients. Risk-prediction models for IntraOp and PostOp complications were created using penalised (lasso) logistic regression using over 30 potential patient/surgical risk factors. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Observed and risk-adjusted IntraOp and PostOp CRs for individual hospitals were calculated. Benchmarking using colour-coded funnel plots and observed-to-expected ratios was undertaken. RESULTS: Overall, IntraOp CR was 4.7% (95% CI 4.0-5.6) and PostOp CR was 25.7% (95% CI 23.7-28.2). The observed CRs for all hospitals were under the upper 95% control limit for both IntraOp and PostOp funnel plots. Risk-adjustment and use of observed-to-expected ratio resulted in one hospital moving to the >95-98% CI (red) band for IntraOp CRs. Use of only hospital-reported data for PostOp CRs would have resulted in one hospital being unfairly allocated to the red band. There was little concordance between IntraOp and PostOp CRs. CONCLUSION: The funnel plots and overall IntraOp (≈5%) and PostOp (≈26%) CRs could be used for benchmarking gynaecological oncology centres. Hospital benchmarking using risk-adjusted CRs allows fairer institutional comparison. IntraOp and PostOp CRs are best assessed separately. As hospital under-reporting is common for postoperative complications, use of patient-reported outcomes is important. TWEETABLE ABSTRACT: Risk-adjusted benchmarking of surgical complications for ten UK gynaecological oncology centres allows fairer comparison.