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The computerized objective assessment of surgical skills: Considerations for counting the number of movements
  • Lawrence Grierson
Lawrence Grierson
McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences
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Motion capture and analysis techniques are emerging in the surgical education and surgical education research literature as viable ways to augment the assessment of technical skills. In particular, these methods provide an opportunity to reveal objective information about the efficiency of surgical procedures, above and beyond the accuracy of procedural outcomes. One assessment that is very prevalent in the literature are counts of the number of movements a surgeon makes in completing a technical performance. In this commentary, the number of movements metric is explored from kinesiology and engineering perspectives; two disciplines that have contributed heavily to the development of rigorous motion analysis methods. Furthermore, the assumption that skill efficiency improves linearly as a learner progresses along the continuum of expertise is challenged. While movement efficiency does certainly improve, this assumption does not necessarily capture the way that learners flexibly prioritize particular aspects of performance in the intermediate stages of skill learning. By way of this commentary, important a priori decisions that should proceed effective motion capture and analysis are highlighted, a call for the standardization of procedures is made, and an opportunity to better understand the way that computerized movement analysis techniques may contribute (or be detrimental) to competency constructs in surgical education and assessment is realized.

Peer review status:Published

04 Oct 2020Submitted to Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
06 Oct 2020Assigned to Editor
06 Oct 2020Submission Checks Completed
07 Oct 2020Editorial Decision: Accept
19 Oct 2020Published in Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 10.1111/jep.13500