Background Audits of operative summaries and pathology reports reveal wide discordance in identifying the extent of lymphadenectomy performed (the communication gap). We tested the ability of a prelabeled lymph node specimen collection kit and checklist to narrow the communication gap between operating surgeons, pathologists, and auditors of surgeons' operation notes. Methods We conducted a prospective single cohort study of lung cancer resections performed with a lymph node collection kit from November 2010 to January 2013. We used the kappa statistic to compare surgeon claims on a checklist of lymph node stations harvested intraoperatively with pathology reports and an independent audit of surgeons' operative summaries. Lymph node collection procedures were classified into four groups based on the anatomic origin of resected lymph nodes: mediastinal lymph node dissection, systematic sampling, random sampling, and no sampling. Results From the pathology reports, 73% of 160 resections had a mediastinal lymph node dissection or systematic sampling procedure, 27% had random sampling. The concordance with surgeon claims was 80% (kappa statistic 0.69, 95% confidence interval: 0.60 to 0.79). Concordance between independent audits of the operation notes and either the pathology report (kappa 0.14, 95% confidence interval: 0.04 to 0.23) or surgeon claims (kappa 0.09, 95% confidence interval: 0.03 to 0.22) was poor. Conclusions A prelabeled specimen collection kit and checklist significantly narrowed the communication gap between surgeons and pathologists in identifying the extent of lymphadenectomy. Audit of surgeons' operation notes did not accurately reflect the procedure performed, bringing its value for quality improvement work into question.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine