Competency and the colonoscopist: a learning curve

Aust N Z J Surg. 1991 Jun;61(6):419-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1991.tb00254.x.


The first 334 consecutive unassisted studies of a trainee colonoscopist were audited to analyse the relationship between experience and a target 90% completion rate of colonoscopy. The cumulative sum (cusum) score was applied to examine the time trend for the attaining of the target 90% completion rate. This technique described a learning curve which showed, in this instance, that approximately 100 studies were necessary before a 90% completion rate was approached. A further 100 studies were required before this target completion rate was achieved consistently. A trend for continued improvement above the 90% completion rate level was also seen after 200 studies. Polypectomy was completed in 117 of the 123 studies where indicated. Cusum analysis may be a useful method for monitoring the progress of the trainee colonoscopist and the attainment of satisfactory competence. Training requirements, therefore, might better emphasize the attainment of an acceptable completion rate rather than an arbitrary quota per se.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Education, Continuing
  • Humans