AGA White Paper: Training and Implementation of Endoscopic Image Enhancement Technologies

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Abstract

Endoscopic image-enhancement technologies provide opportunities to visualize normal and abnormal tissues within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract in a manner that complements conventional white light endoscopic imaging. The additional information that is obtained enables the endoscopist to better identify, delineate, and characterize lesions and can facilitate targeted biopsies or, in some cases, eliminate the need to send samples for histologic analysis. Some of these technologies have been available for more than a decade, but despite this fact, there is limited use of these technologies by endoscopists. Lack of formalized training in their use and a scarcity of guidelines on implementation of these technologies into clinical practice are contributing factors. In November 2014, the American Gastroenterological Association’s Center for GI Innovation and Technology conducted a 2-day workshop to discuss endoscopic image-enhancement technologies. This article represents the third of 3 separate documents generated from the workshop and discusses the published literature pertaining to training and outlines a proposed framework for the implementation of endoscopic image-enhancement technologies in clinical practice.

There was general agreement among participants in the workshop on several key considerations. Training and competency assessment for endoscopic image-enhancement technologies should incorporate competency-based education paradigms. To facilitate successful training, multiple different educational models that can cater to variations in learning styles need to be developed, including classroom-style and self-directed programs, in-person and web-based options, image and video atlases, and endoscopic simulator programs. To ensure safe and appropriate use of these technologies over time, refresher courses, skill maintenance programs, and options for competency reassessment should be established. Participants also generally agreed that although early adopters of novel endoscopic image-enhancement modalities can successfully implement these technologies by pursuing training and ensuring self-competency, widespread implementation is likely to require support from GI societies and buy-in from other key stakeholders including payors/purchasers and patients. Continued work by manufacturers and the GI societies in providing training programs and patient education, working with payors and purchasers, and creating environments and policies that motivate endoscopists to adopt new practices is essential in creating widespread implementation.

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