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J Am Coll Surg. 2012 Sep;215(3):427-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2012.04.017. Epub 2012 May 26.

O' surgery case log data, where art thou?

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Surgical Service, Veterans Affairs (VA) Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, TN, USA.



The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Case Log represents a data system that satisfies the American Board of Surgery (ABS) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program, yet has broad data fields for surgical subspecialties. Using the ACS Case Log, we have developed a method of data capture, categorization, and reporting of acute care surgery fellows' experiences.


In July 2010, our acute care surgery fellowship required our fellows to log their clinical experiences into the ACS Case Log. Cases were entered similar to billable documentation rules. Keywords were entered that specified institutional services and/or resuscitation types. These data were exported in comma separated value format, deidentified, structured by Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes relevant to acute care surgery, and substratified by fellow and/or fellow year.


Fifteen report types were created consisting of operative experience by service, procedure by major category (cardiothoracic, vascular, solid organ, abdominal wall, hollow viscus, and soft tissue), total resuscitations, ultrasound, airway, ICU services, basic neurosurgery, and basic orthopaedics. Results are viewable via a secure Web application, accessible nationally, and exportable to many formats.


Using the ACS Case Log satisfies the ABS MOC program requirements and provides a method for monitoring and reporting acute care surgery fellow experiences. This system is flexible to accommodate the needs of surgical subspecialties and their training programs. As documentation requirements expand, efficient clinical documentation is a must for the busy surgeon. Although, our data entry and processing method has the immediate capacity for acute care surgery fellowships nationwide, multiple larger decisions regarding national case log systems should be encouraged.

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