Background: Surgical training is changing and evolving as time, pressure, and legislative demands continue to mount on trainee surgeons. A paradigm change in the focus of training has resulted in experts examining the cognitive steps needed to perform complex and often highly pressurized surgical procedures.
Objective: To provide an overview of the collective evidence on cognitive task analysis (CTA) as a surgical training method, and determine if CTA improves a surgeon's performance as measured by technical and nontechnical skills assessment, including precision, accuracy, and operative errors.
Methods: A systematic literature review was performed. PubMed, Cochrane, and reference lists were analyzed for appropriate inclusion.
Results: A total of 595 surgical participants were identified through the literature review and a total of 13 articles were included. Of these articles, 6 studies focused on general surgery, 2 focused on practical procedures relevant to surgery (central venous catheterization placement), 2 studies focused on head and neck surgical procedures (cricothyroidotomy and percutaneous tracheostomy placement), 2 studies highlighted vascular procedures (endovascular aortic aneurysm repair and carotid artery stenting), and 1 detailed endovascular repair (abdominal aorta and thoracic aorta). Overall, 92.3% of studies showed that CTA improves surgical outcome parameters, including time, precision, accuracy, and error reduction in both simulated and real-world environments.
Conclusion: CTA has been shown to be a more effective training tool when compared with traditional methods of surgical training. There is a need for the introduction of CTA into surgical curriculums as this can improve surgical skill and ultimately create better patient outcomes.
Keywords: colorectal surgery; evidence-based medicine/surgery; gastric surgery; orthopedic surgery; simulation; surgical education.
© The Author(s) 2014.