Background: Objective assessment of surgical skills is resource intensive and requires valuable time of expert surgeons. The goal of this study was to assess the ability of a large group of laypersons using a crowd-sourcing tool to grade a surgical procedure (cricothyrotomy) performed on a simulator. The grading included an assessment of the entire procedure by completing an objective assessment of technical skills survey.
Materials and methods: Two groups of graders were recruited as follows: (1) Amazon Mechanical Turk users and (2) three expert surgeons from University of Washington Department of Otolaryngology. Graders were presented with a video of participants performing the procedure on the simulator and were asked to grade the video using the objective assessment of technical skills questions. Mechanical Turk users were paid $0.50 for each completed survey. It took 10 h to obtain all responses from 30 Mechanical Turk users for 26 training participants (26 videos/tasks), whereas it took 60 d for three expert surgeons to complete the same 26 tasks.
Results: The assessment of surgical performance by a group (n = 30) of laypersons matched the assessment by a group (n = 3) of expert surgeons with a good level of agreement determined by Cronbach alpha coefficient = 0.83.
Conclusions: We found crowd sourcing was an efficient, accurate, and inexpensive method for skills assessment with a good level of agreement to experts' grading.
Keywords: Crowd sourcing; Emergency cricothyrotomy procedure; Surgical skill assessment.
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