Sweat Sensors Can Guage Surgical Residents’ Confidence With Procedures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jacob Quick, M.D.</strong> Assistant professor of acute care surgery University of Missouri School of Medicine Dr. Quick also serves as a trauma surgeon at MU Health Care.

Dr. Quick

Jacob Quick, M.D.
Assistant professor of acute care surgery
University of Missouri School of Medicine
Dr. Quick also serves as a trauma surgeon at MU Health Care.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: During five to seven years of surgical training, surgical faculty determine the level of clinical competency, confidence and decision-making skills of each resident physician through personal observations. This skill evaluation is based on a subjective assessment, which essentially is a gut feeling.

We monitored electrodermal activity, or EDA, using dermal sensors on the wrists of residents while they performed laparoscopic cholecystectomies. Our initial findings indicated that at crucial points during the procedures, residents’ EDA increased as much as 20 times more than experienced faculty performing the same surgery. However, over the course of the study, and as their proficiency developed, surgical residents’ EDA levels began to lower in accordance with their experience.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: There is a need for an objective, impartial way to determine surgical ability and a resident’s capacity to operate independently. We hypothesized that as training progressed, resident EDA responses to the stress of performing surgical procedures would decline in relationship to their experience level. Our study showed that skin conductivity can provide an objective evaluation of the surgical skills of resident physicians.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: This objective measure of surgical ability could have far-reaching implications on surgical education in the future. The next step for us will be to add stop-action photography into the evaluation process to further explore objective assessments.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

J Surg Educ. 2017 Mar 31. pii: S1931-7204(17)30021-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2017.01.007. [Epub ahead of print]
Objective Measurement of Clinical Competency in Surgical Education Using Electrodermal Activity.
Quick JA1, Bukoski AD2, Doty J3, Bennett BJ3, Crane M3, Barnes SL3.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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