Task-specific metrics facilitate the assessment of surgeon performance. This 3-phased study was designed to (1) develop task-specific metrics for stapled small bowel anastomosis, (2) obtain expert consensus on the appropriateness of the developed metrics, and (3) establish its discriminant validity.
In Phase I, a hierarchical task analysis was used to develop the metrics. In Phase II, a survey of expert colorectal surgeons established the importance of the developed metrics. In Phase III, to establish discriminant validity, surgical trainees and surgeons, divided into novice and experienced groups, constructed a side-to-side anastomosis on porcine small bowel using a linear cutting stapler. The participants’ performances were videotaped and rated by 2 independent observers. Partial least squares regression was used to compute the weights for the task-specific metrics to obtain weighted total score.
In Phase II, a total of 45 colorectal surgeons were surveyed: 28 with more than 15 years, 13 with 5 to 15 years, and 4 with less than 5 years of experience. The consensus was obtained on all the task-specific metrics in the more experienced groups. In Phase III, 20 subjects participated equally in both groups. The experienced group performed better than the novice group regardless of the rating scale used: global rating scale (p = 0.009) and the task-specific metrics (p = 0.012). After partial least squares regression, the weighted task-specific metric score continued to show that the experienced group performed better (p < 0.001).
Task-specific metric items were developed based on expert consensus and showed good discriminant validity compared with a global rating scale between experienced and novice operators. These items can be used for evaluating technical skills in a stapled small bowel anastomosis model.