Uniting Evidence-Based Evaluation with the ACGME Plastic Surgery Milestones: A Simple and Reliable Assessment of Resident Operative Performance

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Background:Milestones evaluations in plastic surgery reflect a shift toward competency-based training but have created a number of challenges. The authors have incorporated the smartphone application evaluation tool, System for Improving and Measuring Procedural Learning (SIMPL), that was recently developed by a multi-institutional research collaborative. In this pilot study, the authors hypothesize that SIMPL can improve resident evaluation and also collect granular performance data to simplify compliance with the plastic surgery Milestones.Methods:SIMPL was prospectively piloted with a plastic surgery resident and faculty surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in this institutional review board–approved study. The study period was a 2-month interval corresponding to the resident’s rotation.Results:The resident-faculty combination performed 20 cases together. All cases were evaluated with SIMPL. SIMPL evaluations uniformly took under 1 minute to submit. The average time to completed evaluation from surgery completion was 5 hours (<0.5 hour to 12 hours). Concrete, objective, and specific data about resident performance were collected for every case and presented in a concise format.Conclusions:SIMPL is an innovative, evidence-based evaluation system that makes performance assessment feasible for every procedure in which a plastic surgery resident participates. SIMPL’s competency-based framework can be easily scaled to facilitate data collection and reporting of mandatory Milestones evaluations at the program and national levels. This technology will support a shared vocabulary between residents and faculty to enhance intraoperative education.

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