OAS Secretary Chairs G4 Webinar on Data Platforms to Capture Surgical Care Data

Chaired by Ambassador Dr. Neil Parsan, Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the Organization of American States, this edition of the G4 Alliance Webinar Series featured panelists Prof. Pankaj Jani (President Elect of COSECSA & Vice-Chair of the G4 Alliance) and Mr. Eric O'Flynn (Programme Director, RCSI/COSECSA Collaboration) discussing the importance of tracking and monitoring surgical outcomes, as well as the need to develop technology platforms to support more robust data collection, evaluation and feedback loops. 

As part of the larger G4 Alliance consultative process and representing their expert working group, the panelists provided an overview of existing tools and resources for collecting operative and surgical data. In many low-resource facilities, paper-based records are kept, as opposed to electronic ones, which can make synthesis and aggregation of data difficult. 

Panelists stressed that while a number of tools exist to gather health data for various levels of care (i.e.: individual, community/household, hospital), it is at the national level where consistent, large-scale surgical data can be collected and aggregated in the most globally-relevant way. In fact, the WHA Resolution on Emergency and Essential Surgical and Anaesthesia Care encourages Member States to collect and share data on surgical procedures, referrals, and perioperative mortality.  

In addition to existing platforms, a wide variety of operation classification standards exist, such as ICD-10-PCS, SNOWMED and CCAM. To obtain widespread comparable data, it will be important to standardize the way operations are recorded at each facility. This means hiring individuals with experience in data entry, and offering compensation that encourages accuracy. Furthermore, it will be critical to work with governments to ensure that national aggregation of data highlights surgically-relevant indicators (i.e.: perioperative mortality rates). 

Finally, the conversation focused on strategies to both support widespread surgical data collection and strengthen overall surgical care systems. This could be achieved through the customization of health management information systems across low and middle income countries (LMICs). For webinar slides and the full video recording, click here.