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Remote Training Feasible, Effective for Surgical Skills

MONDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Remote teaching of surgical skills is feasible and effective in low-resource areas, according to a study published in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

To examine the feasibility of using video Internet communication to teach and evaluate surgical skills, Amy M. Autry, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues randomized intern physicians rotating in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at a university hospital in Uganda to usual practice (controls; seven interns) or to receive three video teaching sessions with the University of California, San Francisco faculty (intervention; eight interns). A small video camera was used to make preintervention and postintervention videos of all interns tying knots.

The researchers found that there was a 50 percent or greater score improvement in six of eight interns in the intervention group, compared with one of seven in the control group (75 versus 14 percent; P = 0.04). Scores decreased for 71 percent of participants in the control group (five of seven) and in none of the intervention participants. Attendings, colleagues, and the Internet were used as sources for learning about knot-tying by participants in both groups. Knot-tying was less likely to be practiced in the control group versus the intervention group. This method of training was enjoyable and helpful for both trainees and the instructors.

"Remote teaching in low-resource settings, where faculty time is limited and access to visiting faculty is sporadic, is feasible, effective, and well-accepted by both learner and teacher," the authors write.

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