Utilising the Delphi Process to Develop a Proficiency-based Progression Train-the-trainer Course for Robotic Surgery Training

Eur Urol. 2019 May;75(5):775-785. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2018.12.044. Epub 2019 Jan 19.


Context: As the role of robot-assisted surgery continues to expand, development of standardised and validated training programmes is becoming increasingly important.

Objective: To provide guidance on an optimised "train-the-trainer" (TTT) structured educational programme for surgical trainers, in which delegates learn a standardised approach to training candidates in skill acquisition. We aim to describe a TTT course for robotic surgery based on the current published literature and to define the key elements within a TTT course by seeking consensus from an expert committee formed of key opinion leaders in training.

Evidence acquisition: The project was carried out in phases: a systematic review of the current evidence was conducted, a face-to-face meeting was held in Philadelphia, and then an initial survey was created based on the current literature and expert opinion and sent to the committee. Thirty-two experts in training, including clinicians, academics, and industry, contributed to the Delphi process. The Delphi process underwent three rounds of survey in total. Additions to the second- and third-round surveys were formulated based on the answers and comments from the previous rounds. Consensus opinion was defined as ≥80% agreement.

Evidence synthesis: There was 100% consensus that there was a need for a standardized TTT course in robotic surgery. A consensus was reached in multiple areas, including the following: (1) definitions and terminologies, (2) qualifications to attend, (3) course objectives, (4) precourse considerations, (5) requirement of e-learning, (6) theory and course content, and (7) measurement of outcomes and performance level verification. The resulting formulated curriculum showed good internal consistency among experts, with a Cronbach alpha of 0.90.

Conclusions: Using the Delphi methodology, we achieved an international consensus among experts to develop and reach content validation for a standardised TTT curriculum for robotic surgery training. This defined content lays the foundation for developing a proficiency-based progression model for trainers in robotic surgery. This TTT curriculum will require further validation.

Patient summary: As the role of robot-assisted surgery continues to expand, development of standardised and validated training programmes is becoming increasingly important. There is currently a lack of high-level evidence on how best to train trainers in robot-assisted surgery. We report a consensus view on a standardised "train-the trainer" curriculum focused on robotic surgery. It was formulated by training experts from the USA and Europe, combining current evidence for training with experts' knowledge of surgical training.

Keywords: Curriculum development; Robot-assisted surgery; Surgical education; Surgical trainer; Train the trainer; Training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Congresses as Topic
  • Consensus
  • Curriculum
  • Delphi Technique
  • Humans
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / education*
  • Teacher Training / methods*
  • Teacher Training / standards*
  • Terminology as Topic