NELA eNewsletter - 8th Edition April 2014

National Emergency Laparotomy Audit

Patient Data Collection

We are now over three months into the patient data collection process and very pleased with the hospital response so far. With 182 sites having participated in the data collection for NELA we are thrilled to see the rate of cases being entered and locked constantly on the rise.

As of this morning we have had:

  • 5560 cases created
  • 1825 cases locked

As always we would like to express our deepest thanks to all participants for your incredible work thus far and encourage you to maintain your impressive diligence in entering patient information onto the audit web tool.

Completing and Locking Cases on the Web Tool

The NELA Project Team would specifically like to emphasise the importance of going back to complete all patient information once a case has first been entered onto the system. We are noticing a large amount of cases that are in incomplete status and have not been edited in weeks, often with the majority of the patient information not filled out.
We fully appreciate that cases cannot always be completed right away and that the questions relating to Histology and Discharge Date in Section 7 will often cause a case to remain incomplete for some time.
We strongly recommend that for sections 1-6 the information is completed as soon as possible, not least of all due to the fact that chasing down patient information weeks after the operation was performed can be very difficult and time consuming.

Another step in the data entry process whose we importance would like to stress is that of locking cases once all information has been entered. Locking cases is crucial in collecting data as unlocked cases will not be featured in future project reports. Locking cases also gives you the ability to export your hospital's data for internal review.

At the moment we have close to 500 cases that are 100% complete but remain unlocked.

All it takes to lock a case is the click of a button and so we urge all hospitals participating in the audit to review the cases they've entered onto the web tool and lock any cases that are complete and yet to be locked.

Updates to the Web Tool

While we have tried to make as few changes as possible to the original Patient Audit Proforma Questionnaire since the Patient Audit launch we have needed to tweak certain questions and answer options to make sure that we are capturing the most relevant data possible. You may have noticed some small changes to the web tool that came into effect last week. Some of these include:

  • Questions 3.22 & 6.20 - The answer options relating to surgical urgency have been expanded to now include Expedited, Urgent (6-18 hours), Urgent (2-6 hours) and Immediate.
  • Questions 3.18 & 6.16 - The wording of the questions has been edited slightly so as to now ask specifically how many operations the patient has undergone in the thirty days prior to the emergency laparotomy.
  • Question 5.6 - 'Blood/haematoma' has now been added as one of the answer options for this question.

Useful Tools on NELA Website

  • Frequently Asked Questions - Constantly updated FAQs reflect the most common and recent queries we receive from hospital staff and web tool users
  • Help Box Text - Provides additional assistance for filling in each of the data collection questions and can also be found on the web tool by clicking on the 'H' button to the right of every question
  • Proforma - A PDF copy of the latest Proforma, the online data collection questionnaire, that can be printed and filled out with patient information in real time, making it then easier to transfer all the information onto the online web tool
  • Updated Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria
  • NELA Poster & Leaflet - To publicise the audit amongst staff and patients in the hospital
  • OPCS Labels - For procedure items in the NELA dataset
  • Process Outcome Measures
  • Organisational Audit Link to Standards

Organisational Audit

The National Emergency Laparotomy Organisational Audit Report has now been completed and will be published on the 14th of May 2014. The report will be made available for participating sites and interested parties to download directly from the NELA website.

The NELA Clinical Lead, Dr Dave Murray, will be presenting on the findings of the Organisational Report at the Organisational Audit Launch taking place at the Royal College of Anaesthetists' Annual Congress in Cardiff on the 15-16th of May. For more information on the event, to view the complete programme or to book, please click here.

Upcoming Events Featuring NELA Speakers

The following events will also feature members of the NELA Project Team speaking about and answering questions on the audit:

  • Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI) International Surgical Congress
    30 April - 2 May 2014, Harrogate
    Iain Anderson (Clinical Advisor) and Carol Peden (Quality Improvement Lead) Speaking

  • Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) Audit Forum
    12 May 2014, London
    Matt Oliver (Research Fellow) Speaking

  • Age Anaesthesia Association (AAA) Annual Conference
    22-23 May 2014, Edinburgh
    Dave Murray (Clinical Lead) and Matt Oliver (Research Fellow) Speaking

  • The Group of Anaesthetists in Training (GAT) Annual Scientific Meeting
    11-13 June 2014, Newcastle
    Dave Murray (Clinical Lead) Speaking

  • Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain in Ireland (AAGBI) Annual Congress
    17-19 September, Harrogate
    Dave Murray (Clinical Lead) Speaking

Sign up to receive the NELA newsletter

The NELA project team will be regularly publishing a newsletter informing those interested and/or participating in the audit on the latest developments.

If you would like to receive the newsletter for regular updates please sign up to the mailing list here.

NELA Twitter

The National Emergency Laparotomy Audit has launched its own twitter account. This will provide updates, news and links to important information on the NELA website. You can follow us @NELANews

Key dates

  • Complete: Organisational audit
  • Jan 2014: 1st year of data collection for patient audit commenced
  • May 2014: 1st Report published (organisational audit)
  • Dec 2014: 2nd year of data collection for patient audit commences
  • July 2015: 2nd Report Published (1st patient audit)

Contact info:

If you have any questions or would like to contact the project team email -