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Open Access Research article

A critical evaluation of the electronic surgical logbook

R Achuthan, K Grover and J MacFie*

Author Affiliations

Department of General Surgery, Scarborough General Hospital, Scarborough Yorkshire, YO12 6QL, UK

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BMC Medical Education 2006, 6:15  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-6-15

Published: 1 March 2006



The Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI) devised the electronic surgical logbook (version 2.4) for higher trainees in General Surgery enabling trainees to compile a uniform data set of their operative and training experience. This is in use by higher surgical trainees (HST) in the United Kingdom. This logbook permits trainees to submit data centrally into a Regional Analysis Database (RAD). With the implementation of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) there is need for reliable data to assess the effects of the directive on training. In order to draw meaningful conclusions from the database the quality of data needs to be validated. We critically analysed the RAD in the Yorkshire region for a one-year period.


The RAD from the ASGBI for the Yorkshire region was analysed. Data for the period 01/10/2002–30/09/2003 was identified and interrogated using Microsoft Excel (2000 version). The RAD was compared with information obtained from the Regional Surgical Advisor for Yorkshire with respect to hospitals, surgical consultants and HST's in the region during the study period.


There were 13,755 operations entered for the study period. 579 corrections to the data had to be made (4.2%) and a further 1140 entries were deleted (8.2%). Following corrections and deletions 12,615 operative entries were available for analysis. Overall 12.5% of the data required either correction or exclusion from the database prior to analysis.


The RAD has a large dataset useful to monitor and assess training. However, the quality of the data needs to be verified prior to use. Recommendations have been made to develop the ASGBI logbook, which would eventually translate to improved data reliability of the RAD.