Since William S. Halsted, MD, FACS, first developed his principles for the trainingofsurgicalresidents,youngsur-
Technology advances in surgical education
geons have faced the challenge of acquiring
surgical skills and clinical experience in the
pressure cooker of residency.
1 With limited
time, increased patient volume, administra-
tive responsibilities, and the overarching
objective to keep pace with the wealth of
new research, hospitals and house staff alike
are using technology-based tools as clinical
and educational aids. Advances in electronic
health record technology combined with
the vast amount of health care data avail-
able on the Internet give users quick access
to reference and self-assessment tools at the touch of a button
on a smartphone or tablet. At the same time, innovative tech-
niques in the operating room (OR) have led to the creation
of laparoscopic and endoscopic instruments, robotic consoles,
stapling and cautery devices, and advanced audio-visual aids.
Surgeons can remotely consult one another through tele-
mentoring and share ideas or discuss clinical decisions and
strategies internationally via teleconferencing. Now more
than ever, technology-based media and the virtual world have
become essential components of surgical education.
As the surgical community develops new treatment modalities
and the procedure repertoire extends to include technology-assisted and minimally invasive approaches, the education
of surgical trainees must continue to adapt and evolve.
days of operating theaters and “see one, do one, teach one” are
waning in favor of safer, more efficient, and measurably effective means of acquiring surgical skills. Implementation of the
80-hour workweek has limited the time residents spend in the
hospital and the OR, while the understanding of the patho-physiology of disease and options for treatment continue to
advance and expand.
3 Such a dichotomy in surgical education
necessitates alternative methods of active training.
Seasoned surgeons and clinicians are challenged to develop
new forums away from the bedside and the OR to develop
basic knowledge in an effort to optimize the limited clinical
time for building and honing more complex surgical skills.
Textbooks, scientific articles, and didactics can be consolidated
into smartphone applications for enhanced accessibility, allowing residents to learn while on the go in the midst of hectic
Technology for teaching:
New tools for 21st century surgeons
by Mariam F. Eskander, MD, MPH; Madalyn G. Neuwirth, MD; SreyRam Kuy, MD, MHS;
Hari B. Keshava, MD, MS; and Jonathan P. Meizoso, MD, MSPH
• Describes how advances in
computer technology, video
cameras, and smartphones are
revolutionizing surgical training
• Explains how simulated training
allows trainees to learn at their own
pace and to have the freedom to
make mistakes and learn from those
mistakes in a safe environment
• Explores the use of telementoring,
particularly in trauma