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Evaluating competency in video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy performance using a novel assessment tool and virtual reality simulation

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BACKGROUND: Competency-based training has gained ground in surgical training and with it assessment tools to ensure that training objectives are met. Very few assessment tools are available for evaluating performance in thoracoscopic procedures. Video recordings would provide the possibility of blinded assessment and limited rater bias. This study aimed to provide validity evidence for a newly developed and dedicated tool for assessing competency in Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) lobectomy.

METHODS: Participants with varying experience with VATS lobectomy were included from different countries. Video recordings from participants' performance of a VATS right upper lobe lobectomy on a virtual reality simulator were rated by three raters using a modified version of a newly developed VATS lobectomy assessment tool (the VATSAT) and analyzed in relation to the unitary framework (content, response process, internal structure, relation to other variables, and consequences of testing).

RESULTS: Fifty-three participants performed two consecutive simulated VATS lobectomies on the virtual reality simulator, leaving a total of 106 videos. Content established in previously published studies. Response process Standardized data collection was ensured by using an instructional element, uniform data collection, a special rating program, and automatic generation of the results to a database. Raters were carefully instructed in using the VATSAT, and tryout ratings were carried out. Internal structure Inter-rater reliability was calculated as intra-class correlation coefficients, to 0.91 for average measures (p < 0.001). Test/re-test reliability was calculated as Pearson's r of 0.70 (p < 0.001). G-coefficient was calculated to be 0.79 with two procedures and three raters. By performing D-theory was found that either three procedures rated by two raters or five procedures rated by one rater were enough to reach an acceptable G-coefficient of ≥ 0.8. Relation to other variables Significant differences between groups were found (p < 0.001). The participants' VATS lobectomy experience correlated significantly to their VATSAT score (p = 0.016). Consequences of testing The pass/fail score was found to be 14.9 points by the contrasting groups' method, leaving five false positive (29%) and six false negatives (43%).

CONCLUSION: Validity evidence was provided for the VATSAT according to the unitary framework. The VATSAT provides supervisors and assessors with a procedure-specific assessment tool for evaluating VATS lobectomy performance and aids with the decision of when the trainee is ready for unsupervised performance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSurgical Endoscopy
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1465-1473
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

    Research areas

  • Assessment tool, Competence evaluation, Thoracoscopic lobectomy, VATS, VATSAT

ID: 56587644