The application of microcomputers to vascular surgery has been limited because of the lack of software that allows collection and effective evaluation of a large amount of patient-related data. We have developed a microcomputer-based data handling system for evaluating vascular patients that is inexpensive ($6000 to $8000), easy to use, and flexible. Its simplicity for nonprogrammers is achieved through a natural interface with menu-driven operations and descriptive English language messages. With this system eight data entry forms were designed, and data on more than 1000 patients treated for peripheral vascular disease over the last 7 years were entered into the computer by clerical personnel with minimal training. A query language report generator allowed us to obtain reports of results in simple English on any set of selection criteria with all relevant statistical functions, including cumulative life-table patency rates. This system has the following advantages: (1) rapid evaluation of data from several retrospective and prospective studies, such as comparison of graft material, effect of local and systemic risk factors, cost of limb-salvage surgery, and correlation of noninvasive laboratory tests with other parameters; (2) more accurate patient follow-up, with elimination of many of the pitfalls involved in observing large groups of patients frequently; and (3) quantitation of individual surgeon or service results for quality control and self-review, which guide the vascular surgeon to modify treatment protocols, patient selection, and/or surgical techniques. Wider use of this system for data collection and evaluation will help to standardize data reporting and thus allow accurate comparison of data from different centers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine