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Critically Appraising the Quality of Reporting of ACS-TQIP Studies in the Era of Big Data Research
Anthony Gebran1, Daniel Badin2, Antoine Bejjani2, Hadi Sabbagh2, Tala Mahmoud3, Mohamad El Moheb1, Osaid Alser1, Bellal Joseph4, Haytham Kaafarani1
1Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery, & Surgical Critical Care, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 2Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, 3Faculty of Medicine, University of Balamand, Beirut, Lebanon, 4Division of Trauma, Critical Care, Emergency Surgery, and Burns, Department of Surgery, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States

Objective: The American College of Surgeons-Trauma Quality Improvement Program (ACS-TQIP) database is one of the most widely used databases for trauma research. We aimed to critically appraise the quality of methodological reporting of ACS-TQIP studies.
Design: Cross-sectional survey of the ACS-TQIP bibliography.
Setting: Studies published January 2018-January 2021.
Main Outcome Measure: The quality of data reporting was assessed using the STRengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology-REporting of Studies Conducted Using Observational Routinely Collected Health Data (STROBE-RECORD) statement and the JAMA-Surgery checklist. Three items from each tool were not applicable and thus excluded. The quality of reporting was also compared between high and low impact factor (IF) journals (cutoff for high IF: >90th percentile of all surgical journals).
Results: A total of 118 eligible studies were included, 10% published in high IF journals. The median number of criteria fulfilled was 5 (IQR: 4-6) for the STROBE-RECORD statement (out of 10 items) and 5 (5-6) for the JAMA-Surgery checklist (out of 7 items). Specifically, 73% of studies did not describe the patient population selection process, 61% did not address data cleaning or the implications of missing values, and 76% did not properly state inclusion/exclusion criteria and/or outcome variables [Figure 1]. Studies published in high IF journals had remarkably higher quality of reporting compared to those in low IF journals.
Conclusions: The methodological reporting quality of ACS-TQIP studies remains suboptimal. Future efforts should focus on improving adherence to standard reporting policies to mitigate potential bias and improve reproducibility of published studies.
Figure 1: A. Percentage of studies that fulfilled each STROBE-RECORD criterion in all, high and low impact factor (IF) journals; B. Percentage of studies that fulfilled each JAMA-surgery criterion in all, high and low IF journals


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