Highlights from the American College of Surgeons Meeting

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I recently attended the annual meeting of the Accredited Educational Institutes of the American College of Surgeons (March 12 & 13). A few highlights:

Watch for a publication that should appear soon in Pediatric and Critical Care Medicine describing a study that demonstrates the effectiveness of simulation in improving the outcome of pediatric codes. Well-designed and real outcomes.

The keynote was by the CEO of a company that does the animation for Hollywood movies. He showed how “Benjamin Button” was made. The Brad Pitt character was said to be 90% digital. It’s not a big leap to imagine how we aren’t far from having the tools to do this fairly easily. The speaker said he thought those would be affordable in five years. More evidence of that is in this 8-minute clip from a recent TED conference.

Will this replace most of the physical high-realism (expensive) simulations that many of us now do?

Assessment: there’s more and more of it. I have no doubt that simulation will soon be used widely for credentialing and re-credentialing. It’s already happening but you can see the momentum building. I learned that there are actually ASTM standards describing  how to create a certification process (under the committee ASTM E36.80; it’s not free but you can get it at www.ASTM.org. Also see the standard for performance testing and assessment here.

I was in an interesting breakout session on using non-physicians to teach physicians clinical skills. It’s happening in lots of places. Doing it is no longer the question. However, the issue of whether such people should be formally trained and qualified (competency assured) does need to be addressed. Are you doing this? Are your trainers being qualified in some way?