Cohort Studies & Audits

Multicentre snap-shot prospective audits have the power to bring together surgeons and units across multiple regions or countries for a common research goal, thus strengthening an active network of research participation across Europe and beyond. 

We are expanding ESCP's remit by encouraging perspective cohort studies and have set up a Cohort Studies Sub-Committee, co-ordinating annual snap-shot audits.

Multicentre snap-shot audits provide a superb opportunity to generate large datasets on surgical interventions and their outcomes without many of the hurdles of performing a randomised controlled trial (RCT), and at a fraction of the cost and time investment.

There is a particular need for surgeons to engage in high quality prospective studies of this type to bridge the current gulf between a paucity of RCTs (some of which are themselves of dubious quality) and the over-abundance of level IV evidence derived from personal case series and poor quality cohort studies.

Thus far, the ESCP has adopted a strategy of promoting short duration, high volume prospective audits (termed snap-shot audits) and these have been hugely successful (see below).

It is, however, an ambition of the research committee that before 2020, the ESCP will identify and promote at least two major prospective cohort studies with sufficient patient-level follow up to derive meaningful functional outcomes for colorectal interventions with uncertain (inadequate or contradictory) clinical effectiveness. Such outcomes will ideally cross-reference to ESCP development work in core outcome sets, especially patient-reported outcome measures (PROMS).

How do I get involved?

  • Almost everyone who performs common colorectal interventions can join in this important ESCP research initiative.
  • No expertise or prior experience are required
  • Snap-shot audits require very little additional work and even the busiest surgeon can help (in fact it is the busiest surgeons we want!)
  • To start, consider the available studies linked to below and sign up to a study when they become open
  • Please register here for updates on future ESCP cohort studies and audits

Using our data

We welcome applications from external stakeholders to use datasets from previous ESCP audits to help make full use and maximize potential of data.

Data sharing agreements between the University of Birmingham (where data is hosted on BISTC REDCap server) and the recipient of the data will be mandatory.

Applications for use of data should be brought forward by a current Committee member to be reviewed by the Cohort Studies Committee or subcommittee.It is mandatory that a current Cohort studies committee member should be involved in any project involving third parties.

Any publications resulting from the use of ESCP data will be published under the name “ESCP Collaborating Group” with those who contributed to previous data cited as co-authors.

In order for your request to be considered please send the following information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Proposer details (Name, title, institution)
  • Details of ESCP data being requested 
  • Research question(s)
  • Timeline
  • Short protocol (including data analysis plan)
  • Name of current committee member supporting proposal 

Previous snap-shot audits