The effect of model fidelity on colonoscopic skills acquisition. A randomized controlled study

J Surg Educ. 2013 Jul-Aug;70(4):522-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2013.02.010. Epub 2013 Apr 16.


Introduction: Colonoscopic simulators offer the opportunity for skill acquisition in the preclinical setting. Currently available simulators vary widely with respect to level of fidelity and technological sophistication. Despite the belief that more realistic is better, there is a paucity of evidence regarding the relative effectiveness of simulator fidelity (high vs low) on the acquisition of basic colonoscopic skills. We hypothesized that novice learners can acquire basic colonoscopic skills using simulators, however fidelity of the simulator does not make a difference.

Methods: We randomly assigned novice third-year and fourth-year medical students to practice on either a low-fidelity or high-fidelity colonoscopy model. The low-fidelity model used is described in the module 16 of the American College of Surgeons/Association of Program Directors in Surgery surgical skills curriculum for residents, Phase 1: basic or core skills and tasks < >. The high-fidelity model was the AccuTouch colonoscopy simulator, Immersion Medical (AccuTouch CS) that has 6 different simulated scenarios for diagnostic colonoscopy (level 1-6). Both groups had 16 students and were given standard instruction by an expert with respect to the procedure and instrument handling on both models. Both groups were pretested and posttested on level 1 of the AccuTouch CS. The high-fidelity group practiced on level 2 and 4 of the AccuTouch CS, whereas the low-fidelity group practiced on the low-fidelity model for 2 sessions of 1 hour each. The computer-based evaluation parameters available on the AccuTouch CS were used to compare performances.

Results: Both groups had similar demographics. There were no significant differences in the baseline performances of either group. Each group demonstrated significant improvement for insertion time and percentage of mucosa visualized. However, there were no significant differences between the groups on posttesting on any of the measured parameters.

Conclusions: Colonoscopic skill training on a low-fidelity model appears to be as effective as high-fidelity model training for basic endoscopic skill acquisition for novice learners.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Colonoscopy / education*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Task Performance and Analysis*