Digital simulators are potential solutions to challenges facing surgical education. The authors sought to evaluate the reach and utilization of a freely-accessible craniofacial surgery digital educational simulator. More importantly, we compare usage patterns between web-based and mobile-based platforms.
A 3-way collaboration between academic, non-profit (myFace, New York, NY), and biotechnology (Biodigital, New York, NY) stakeholders in 2015 produced the Craniofacial Interactive Virtual Assistant Pro (CIVA-Pro). CIVA-Pro is a freely-accessible craniofacial surgery digital educational simulator. In addition to the web-based platform, a mobile-based platform was launched in 2017. Usage analytics were collected and analyzed.
Since its launch, 751 registered users from 117 countries had accessed CIVA-Pro. The total number of sessions was 9531, including 7500 web and 2031 mobile sessions. The total screen time was 403.9 hours, 290.3 for the web and 113.6 for the mobile platform. Comparison of the mean monthly screen time and number of monthly sessions between platforms since 2017 demonstrated a significantly higher mean monthly screen time (60.1 ± 33.2 versus 29.4 ± 16.5 hours; P = 0.002) and number of sessions (110.2 ± 36.1 versus 58.1 ± 31.9; P < 0.0001) for the mobile-based platform. The mean screen time per session was comparable (P = 0.86).
A freely available digital craniofacial surgery educational simulator designed for surgical trainees can achieve significant global reach. Significantly higher utilization of the mobile-based platform of the simulator as compared to the web-based platform reinforces the need to invest in user-friendly, easily accessible, and widely available digital educational resources by key stakeholders to ensure optimal plastic surgery trainee education.