Basic Surgical Skill Retention: Can Patriot Motion Tracking System Provide an Objective Measurement for it?

Shazrinizam Shaharan, Emmeline Nugent, Donncha M Ryan, Oscar Traynor, Paul Neary, Declan Buckley
Journal of Surgical Education 2016, 73 (2): 245-9

BACKGROUND: Knot tying is a fundamental skill that surgical trainees have to learn early on in their training. The aim of this study was to establish the predictive and concurrent validity of the Patriot as an assessment tool and determine the skill retention in first-year surgical trainees after 5 months of training.

METHODS: First-year surgical trainees were recruited in their first month of the training program. Experts were invited to set the proficiency level. The subjects performed hand knot tying on a bench model. The skill was assessed at baseline in the first month of training and at 5 months. The assessment tools were the Patriot electromagnetic tracking system and Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills (OSATS). The trainees' scores were compared to the proficiency score. The data were analyzed using paired t-test and Pearson correlation analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 14 first-year trainees participated in this study. The time taken to complete the task and the path length (PL) were significantly shorter (p = 0.007 and p = 0.0085, respectively) at 5 months. OSATS scoring showed a significant improvement (p = 0.0004). There was a significant correlation between PL and OSATS at baseline (r = -0.873) and at Month 5 (r = -0.774). In all, 50% of trainees reached the proficiency PL at baseline and at Month 5. Among them, 3 trainees improved their PL to reach proficiency and the other 3 trainees failed to reach proficiency.

CONCLUSION: The parameters from the Patriot motion tracker demonstrated a significant correlation with the classical observational assessment tool and were capable of highlighting the skill retention in surgical trainees. Therefore, the automated scoring system has a significant role in the surgical training curriculum as an adjunct to the available assessment tool.

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