Surgeons are required to master complex and ever advancing knowledge and skills. Given both technical advancements and operational changes in the field of surgery, surgical mastery is becoming a task that requires more learning in less time. Thus, there is great need to understand ways in which surgical education and training can become more efficient. New mandates by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's (ACGME) "Next Accreditation System" call for continuous monitoring of performance outcomes based on competency of essential tasks for clinical practice. This mandate sets a high bar for assessment and documentation of competency. The current proposal focuses on the development and validation of an assessment system for surgeons: the automated performance assessment system (APAS). The goal of APAS is to provide automated and objective feedback to its users. Specifically, it is an assessment that utilizes two previously validated technologies (open surgery simulators and motion sensor tracking) to provide feedback on a number of performance variables. The purpose of this research is twofold: (1) to capture data in order to best understand what variables are associated with surgical mastery, thus creating assessment criteria for APAS, and (2) Validate APAS as a reliable measurement tool for competency and mastery skills assessment for open surgical tasks.
Both aims will be completed through between-groups experimental designs, where the experience level of the participant indicates the group and serves as the independent variable. The product of this research will be an assessment tool that is the first of its kind, evaluating both decision making and technical skills. This research proposes an end product that will change the nature of surgical training, enabling more timely, systematic, and detailed assessment. The goal of this research, innovation in medical training in the field of surgery, is one shared by the University o Wisconsin. As such, the applicant will be supported throughout this project both through access to mentors who themselves are leaders in the field of Surgery Education and Education and Technology. In the two year timeline of this project, this applicant will complete the research to produce a new form of surgical assessment, and complete the coursework to obtain a Master's degree in education. These experiences will serve as the first steps towards becoming a leader in the field of surgical education.

Public Health Relevance

This research proposes to validate the newly developed automated performance assessment system (APAS). The project focuses on developing APAS as an assessment that can be used to enhance surgical education, by enabling technology that provides safe, systematic, and objective feedback on surgical technique and decision making. This work will have great implications for surgical training, hospital quality oversight, and healthcare delivery.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F15-P (20))
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Erim, Zeynep
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University of Wisconsin Madison
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United States
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