Computer simulator training enhances the competency of gastroenterology fellows at colonoscopy: results of a pilot study

Am J Gastroenterol. 2004 Jan;99(1):33-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2004.04007.x.


Objectives: Computer-based colonoscopy simulation (CBCS) is being utilized in endoscopy training without supporting evidence that it improves patient-based colonoscopy performance. The goal of this pilot study was to determine if CBCS training improves gastroenterology (GI) fellows' patient-based colonoscopy skills.

Methods: Competency at colonoscopy among 4 novice GI fellows who completed a 6-h CBCS curriculum was compared with 4 novice fellows who were not CBCS-trained. Measurements of competency were rendered by supervising faculty by recording "insertion time,""depth of unassisted insertion,""independent procedure completion,""ability to identify endoscopic landmarks,""inserts in a safe manner,""adequately visualizes mucosa on withdrawal," and "responds appropriately to patient discomfort" with each colonoscopy.

Results: Simulator-trained fellows outperformed traditionally trained fellows during their initial 15 colonoscopies in all performance aspects except "insertion time" (pp < 0.05). Simulator-trained fellows inserted the endoscope significantly further and reached the cecum independently nearly twice as often during this early training period. Three parameters ("depth of insertion,""independent completion," and "ability to identify landmarks") demonstrated a continued advantage out to 30 colonoscopies. Beyond 30 procedures, there was no difference in the performance of the two groups.

Conclusion: In this pilot study, a 6-h CBCS curriculum provides an early training advantage by enhancing competency at the early stages of patient-based colonoscopy. These advantages are negligible after approximately 30 patient-based procedures. CBCS-enhanced training may allow faculty to be more efficient with their colonoscopy practice.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Fellowships and Scholarships*
  • Female
  • Gastroenterology / education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects