Purpose: For some surgical conditionns and scientific questions, the “real world” effectiveness of surgical patient care may be better explored using a multi-institutional time-bound observational cohort assessment approach (termed a “snapshot audit”) than by retrospective review of administrative datasets or by prospective randomized control trials. We discuss when this might be the case, and present the key features of developing, deploying, and assessing snapshot audit outcomes data. Methods: A narrative review of snapshot audit methodology was generated using the Scale for the Assessment of Narrative Review Articles (SANRA) guideline. Manuscripts were selected from domains including: audit design and deployment, statistical analysis, surgical therapy and technique, surgical outcomes, diagnostic testing, critical care management, concomitant non-surgical disease, implementation science, and guideline compliance. Results: Snapshot audits all conform to a similar structure: being time-bound, non-interventional, and multi-institutional. A successful diverse steering committee will leverage expertise that includes clinical care and data science, coupled with librarian services. Pre-published protocols (with specified aims and analyses) greatly helps site recruitment. Mentored trainee involvement at collaborating sites should be encouraged through manuscript contributorship. Current funding principally flows from medical professional organizations. Conclusion: The snapshot audit approach to assessing current care provides insights into care delivery, outcomes, and guideline compliance while generating testable hypotheses.
- Implementation science
- Observational cohort study
- Snapshot audit
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine