To identify, categorize, and evaluate the quality of literature, and to provide evidence-based guidelines on virtual surgical education within the cognitive and curricula, psychomotor, and faculty development and mentorship domains.
Summary of Background Data:
During the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, utilizing virtual learning modalities is expanding rapidly. Although the innovative methods must be considered to bridge the surgical education gap, a framework is needed to avoid expansion of virtual education without proper supporting evidence in some areas.
The Association for Surgical Education formed an ad-hoc research group to evaluate the quality and methodology of the current literature on virtual education and to build evidence-based guidelines by utilizing the SiGN methodology. We identified patient/problem–intervention–comparison–outcome-style questions, conducted systematic literature reviews using PubMed, EMBASE, and Education Resources information Center databases. Then we formulated evidence-based recommendations, assessed the quality of evidence using Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation, Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for Education, and Kirkpatrick ratings, and conducted Delphi consensus to validate the recommendations.
Eleven patient/problem–intervention–comparison–outcome-style questions were designed by the expert committees. After screening 4723 articles by the review committee, 241 articles met inclusion criteria for full article reviews, and 166 studies were included and categorized into 3 domains: cognition and curricula (n = 92), psychomotor, (n = 119), and faculty development and mentorship (n = 119). Sixteen evidence-based recommendations were formulated and validated by an external expert panel.
The evidence-based guidelines developed using SiGN methodology, provide a set of recommendations for surgical training societies, training programs, and educators on utilizing virtual surgical education and highlights the area of needs for further investigation.