Evaluation of hands-on training in colonoscopy: is a computer-based simulator useful?

Dig Liver Dis. 2012 Jul;44(7):580-4. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2012.03.014. Epub 2012 Apr 18.


Background and aims: The advantages of using a computer-based simulator during colonoscopy training are debated. We aimed to explore its usefulness in objectively measuring trainees' competence in colonoscopy.

Methods: Twelve colonoscopy trainees (fully trained in upper GI endoscopy) were evaluated using a computer-based simulator (GI-Mentor, Symbionix) before and during hands-on training (i.e. after 60 colonoscopies); the controls were 15 experts (>90% of caecal intubation). Both trainees and experts performed two "screening" simulations (easy and difficult) in a randomised order, and the time to reach the caecum and withdrawal time was assessed.

Results: The percentage of caecal intubation progressively increased during hands-on training. All of the trainees intubated the caecum during the easy and difficult simulations, both before and during hands-on training. The median time (interquartile range) to reach the caecum upon easy simulation was the only variable influenced by hands-on training: 2.7 min (2.1-3.2) before and 1.9 min (1.6-2) during training (p<0.01). Withdrawal time was ≥6 min in the case of five trainees before training, and three during hands-on training. Computer-based simulator performance did not correlate with hands-on training performance.

Conclusions: The computer-based simulator was not found to be useful in evaluating competence during hands-on training in colonoscopy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cecum
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Colonoscopy / education*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods*
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Gastrointestinal
  • Male
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors