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Ann Thorac Surg. 2014 Apr;97(4):1163-8. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2013.12.042. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

Design of a consensus-derived synoptic operative report for lung cancer surgery.

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery, McMaster University, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  • 2Department of Surgery, University of Ottawa, Ottawa Hospital General Campus, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  • 3Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba, Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
  • 4Departments of Surgery and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Western Ontario, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada.
  • 5Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • 6Department of Surgery, Toronto East General Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • 7Department of Surgery, University of Laval, Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Québec, Quebec, Canada.
  • 8Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
  • 9Department of Surgery, University of British Columbia, Surrey Memorial Hospital, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.
  • 10Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
  • 11Department of Surgery, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
  • 12Department of Surgery, McMaster University, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:



For lung cancer surgery, a narrative operative report is the standard reporting procedure, whereas a synoptic-style report is increasingly utilized by healthcare professionals in various specialties with great success. A synoptic operative report more succinctly and accurately captures vital information and is rapidly generated with good intraobserver reliability. The objective of this study was to systematically develop a synoptic operative report for lung cancer surgery following a modified Delphi consensus model with the support of the Canadian thoracic surgery community.


Using online survey software, thoracic surgeons and related physicians were asked to suggest and rate data elements for a synoptic report following the modified Delphi consensus model. The consensus exercise-derived template was forwarded to a small working group, who further refined the definition and priority designation of elements until the working group had reached a satisfactory consensus.


In all, 139 physicians were invited to participate in the consensus exercise, with 36.7%, 44.6%, and 19.5% response rates, respectively, in the three rounds. Eighty-nine elements were agreed upon at the conclusion of the exercise, but 141 elements were forwarded to the working group. The working group agreed upon a final data set of 180 independently defined data elements, with 72 mandatory and 108 optional elements for implementation in the final report.


This study demonstrates the process involved in developing a multidisciplinary, consensus-based synoptic lung cancer operative report. This novel report style is a quality improvement initiative to improve the capture, dissemination, readability, and potential utility of critical surgical information.

Copyright © 2014 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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