Simulation-Based Training for Colonoscopy: Establishing Criteria for Competency

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The aim of this study was to create simulation-based tests with credible pass/fail standards for 2 different fidelities of colonoscopy models.

Only competent practitioners should perform colonoscopy. Reliable and valid simulation-based tests could be used to establish basic competency in colonoscopy before practicing on patients.

Twenty-five physicians (10 consultants with endoscopic experience and 15 fellows with very little endoscopic experience) were tested on 2 different simulator models: a virtual-reality simulator and a physical model. Tests were repeated twice on each simulator model. Metrics with discriminatory ability were identified for both modalities and reliability was determined. The contrasting-groups method was used to create pass/fail standards and the consequences of these were explored.

The consultants significantly performed faster and scored higher than the fellows on both the models (P < 0.001). Reliability analysis showed Cronbach α = 0.80 and 0.87 for the virtual-reality and the physical model, respectively. The established pass/fail standards failed one of the consultants (virtual-reality simulator) and allowed one fellow to pass (physical model).

The 2 tested simulations-based modalities provided reliable and valid assessments of competence in colonoscopy and credible pass/fail standards were established for both the tests. We propose to use these standards in simulation-based training programs before proceeding to supervised training on patients.

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