Short-term survival after paediatric cardiac surgery has improved significantly over the past 20 years and increasing attention is being given to measuring and reducing incidence of morbidities following surgery. How to best use routinely collected data to share morbidity information constitutes a challenge for clinical teams interested in analysing their outcomes for quality improvement. We aimed to develop a tool facilitating this process in the context of monitoring morbidities following paediatric cardiac surgery, as part of a prospective multi-centre research study in the United Kingdom.
We developed a prototype software tool to analyse and present data about morbidities associated with cardiac surgery in children. We used an iterative process, involving engagement with potential users, tool design and implementation, and feedback collection. Graphical data displays were based on the use of icons and graphs designed in collaboration with clinicians.
Our tool enables automatic creation of graphical summaries, displayed as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, from a spreadsheet containing patient-level data about specified cardiac surgery morbidities. Data summaries include numbers/percentages of cases with morbidities reported, co-occurrences of different morbidities, and time series of each complication over a time window.
Our work was characterised by a very high level of interaction with potential users of the tool, enabling us to promptly account for feedback and suggestions from clinicians and data managers. The United Kingdom centres involved in the project received the tool positively, and several expressed their interest in using it as part of their routine practice.