Background: Counting the number of procedures performed provides at best a crude measure of technical competence in colonoscopy. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a qualitative and a quantitative score for measuring technical competency in colonoscopy using videotape evaluation.
Methods: Eighteen endoscopists with varying levels of experience were prospectively videotaped during colonoscope insertion. The following were recorded simultaneously: a closed circuit television view showing instrument handling, the endoscopic luminal view, and a continuous display of the colonoscope configuration (magnetic endoscope imaging). Videotapes were reviewed blindly and in random order by 3 experts. Performance in 3 categories was evaluated: (1) manipulation of instrument controls (0-10), (2) manipulation of the insertion tube (0-6) and (3) depth of insertion (0-4). A global assessment of competence was given for each endoscopist.
Results: Comparing the total scores as assessed by the 3 blinded experts, for each individual endoscopist, there were significant differences. However, there was good interobserver agreement and correlation between the individual scores and global assessment ratings of competence (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: The video assessment tool described appears to measure technical competence at colonoscopy, although in its present form it lacks reliability. Refinement of the score may improve reliability and deserves further evaluation.