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Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2013 Dec;74(12):691-3.

National Joint Registry data inaccuracy: a threat to proper reporting.

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ST5 in Trauma and Orthopaedics, Torbay Hospital, Torquay.



The authors set out to investigate the accuracy of the information their unit was inputting onto the National Joint Registry. This is important both in relation to implant surveillance and also to the use of these data to monitor the performance of surgeons.


A single consultant's arthroplasty patients were audited over 12 months. Data taken from the National Joint Registry were compared to the operation notes and the hospital's computer system.


Of 78 cases inputted, 27 (35%) were incorrect. Sixteen cases (21%) had the incorrect 'consultant in charge' recorded, eight cases (10%) had the incorrect 'operating surgeon' recorded and three cases (4%) had both errors. The most frequent inaccuracies resulted from listing by another consultant and incorrectly recorded trainee supervision. These errors were highlighted to the unit and a corrected process was designed. The intervention was to implement this process by presenting to the involved groups and displaying posters to prevent the error-producing process. The audit was repeated (after 6 months) showing eradication of the problem.


It is the surgeon's duty to ensure data recorded under his/her name are accurate and justify any discrepancies when compared to other surgeons. Pooling of patients and supervision of trainees are sources of potential error.

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