Study: Mobile App Can Facilitate Surgery Resident Reviews

March 30, 2015 in News

A smartphone-based system can effectively simplify and facilitate the assessment of general surgery residents’ performance, according to a study published in the Journal of Surgical Education, Health Data Management reports.

Details of System

The Procedural Autonomy and Supervisions System, or PASS, was developed by Northwestern Medicine to help attending physicians provide immediate feedback to surgical residents.

Specifically, when integrated with an operating room database, the PASS application prompts the attending physician to fill out an evaluation at the end of an operation. The attending physician then:

  • Verifies the resident on the case; and
  • Selects which level of operation on the Zwisch scale’s four levels — which include show and tell, active help, passive help and supervision only — that the resident completed and at what complexity.

The information is then stored in a central database, according to Health Data Management.

Study Findings

In an eight-month period, the system was used by 27 faculty members to complete nearly 1,500 performance assessments on 31 residents. During the study period, more than 90% of faculty members completed such assessments (Goth, Health Data Management, 3/30).

The study concluded that when the Zwisch scale is “[d]eployed on an automated smartphone-based system, it can be used to feasibly record evaluations for most operations performed by residents.”

Further, the study noted that data from PASS could be used to:

  • Inform and advise individual residents;
  • Modify curricula; and
  • Potentially inform national training guidelines (George et al., JSE, November/December 2014).

Next Steps

Northwestern Medicine now is developing a modified version of the system with a focus on other procedural specialties.

The new system will use a similar smartphone app, which will be triggered after a resident fills out a self-evaluation.

According to Health Data Management, Northwestern will begin testing the system — called SIMPL — soon (Health Data Management, 3/30).

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