Peer-led surgery education: A model for a surgery interest group

We present a systematic, sustainable, student-led model for a Surgery Interest Group in a low and middle-income country setting to encourage other medical students to establish similar groups in their institutions. Our model was developed at the Aga Khan University Medical College, Karachi, and is comprised of medical students, teaching associates, residents, faculty and alumni. The group focuses on connecting medical students with an interest in surgery with opportunities to help them match in surgery training programs. The opportunities include, but are not limited to, skill development, personal development, mentorship and research. Our model has shown growth and expansion over the last four years, and can be successfully replicated in medical colleges across similar settings.

Surgical residents’ opinions on international surgical residency in Flanders, Belgium

International electives benefit training of medical residents due to exposure to an increased scope of pathologies, improved physical examination skills, communication across cultural boundaries and more efficient resource utilization. Currently there is no mechanism for Belgian surgical residents to participate in international training opportunities and little research has addressed the international mobility of Belgian residents. The goal of this study was to examine the attitudes of Belgian residents towards international training among surgical residents.

An anonymous, structured electronic questionnaire was sent to a cohort of Belgian residents, including surgical residents, by e-mail and social media.

In total, 342 respondents filled out the questionnaire out of a total of 5906 Belgian residents. The results showed that 334 of the residents came from Flanders (10.8%) and 8 came from French-speaking Brussels and Wallonia (0.28%). Surgical specialties represented 46% of respondents and included surgical, obstetric and anaesthesiology residents. The majority (98%) were interested in an international rotation, both in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and in high-income countries. A total of 84% were willing to conduct an international rotation during holidays and 91% would participate even when their international stay would not be recognised as part of their residency training. A minority (38%) had undertaken an international rotation in the past and, of those, 5% went to an LMIC.

The majority of surgical residents consider an international rotation as educationally beneficial, even though they are rarely undertaken. Our survey shows that in order to facilitate foreign rotations, Flemish universities and governmental institutions will have to alleviate the regulatory, logistical and financial constraints.

An evaluation of obstetric ultrasound education program in Nepal using the RE-AIM framework

Nepal has a high prevalence of congenital anomaly contributing to high infant mortality. Ultrasound, an important tool to detect congenital anomalies and manage maternity-related risk factors, is not properly used in Nepal because Nepali doctors have limited opportunities for learning ultrasound techniques. Hence, we developed and implemented an ultrasound education program from 2016 to 2018. The objective of this study is to evaluate the education program using the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework.

We conducted a mixed-method study to evaluate each component of RE-AIM. The team collected quantitative data from administrative records, tests, surveys, and an online follow-up survey. Qualitative data were collected from individual in-depth interviews at least a year after the program. The proportions, means, and t-tests were used for quantitative data, and thematic coding for qualitative data.

A total of 228 healthcare workers representing 27.3% of the districts of Nepal were reached from 2016 to 2018. The program improved participants’ knowledge (29.3, 8.7, and 23.8 increases out of 100, each year, p< 0.001, n=85) and self-confidence (0.6, 0.3, 1.3 increases out of 4.0, p< 0.01, n=111). The participants were highly satisfied with the program (4.2, 4.1, and 4.0 out of 5.0, n=162). Among the respondents of the online follow-up survey (n=28), 60.7% had used ultrasound in their daily practice after the education program, and a medical institution established an ultrasound training center. The absence of clear accreditation and practical guidelines in ultrasound use were presented as barriers for adoption and maintenance.

The program was successful in improving participant’s knowledge and self-confidence in ultrasound techniques and showed great potential for the adoption and maintenance of the techniques in their practice. Continuous implementation of the program and institutional policy changes to facilitate ultrasound use may increase the ultrasound use and improve ultrasound service quality in Nepal.

Feasibility and integration of an intensive emergency pediatric care curriculum in Armenia

Background: Emergency pediatric care curriculum (EPCC) was developed to address the need for pediatric rapid assessment and resuscitation skills among out-of-hospital emergency providers in Armenia. This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of EPCC in increasing physicians’ knowledge when instruction transitioned to local
instructors. We hypothesize that (1) EPCC will have a positive impact on post-test knowledge, (2) this effect will be maintained when local trainers teach the course, and (3) curriculum will satisfy participants.

Methods: This is a quasi-experimental, pre-test/post-test study over a 4-year period from October 2014‑November 2017. Train-the-trainer model was used. Primary outcomes are immediate knowledge acquisition each year and comparison of knowledge acquisition between two cohorts based on North American vs local instructors.
Descriptive statistics was used to summarize results. Pre-post change and differences across years were analyzed using repeated measures mixed models.

Results: Test scores improved from pretest mean of 51% (95% CI 49.6 to 53.0%) to post-test mean of 78% (95% CI 77.0 to 79.6%, p < 0.001). Average increase from pre- to post-test each year was 27% (95% CI 25.3 to 28.7%). Improvement was sustained when local instructors taught the course (p = 0.74). There was no difference in improvement when experience in critical care, EMS, and other specialties were compared (p = 0.23). Participants reported satisfaction and wanted the course repeated. In 2017, EPCC was integrated within the Emergency Medicine residency program in Armenia. Discussion: This program was effective at impacting immediate knowledge as well as participant satisfaction and intentions to change practice. This knowledge acquisition and reported satisfaction remained constant even when the instruction was transitioned to the local instructors after 2 years. Through a partnership between the USA and Armenia, we provided OH-EPs in Armenia with an intensive educational experience to attain knowledge and skills necessary to manage acutely ill or injured children in the out-of-hospital setting. Conclusions: EPCC resulted in significant improvement in knowledge and was well received by participants. This is a viable and sustainable model to train providers who have otherwise not had formal education in this field

Top 10 Resources in Global Surgery

The need is great. Surgical disease is among the top 15 causes of disability, and surgical conditions account for up to 30% of total disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost worldwide—with the greatest need in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Surgery has been shown to be highly cost-effective when compared with standard global health interventions.
The transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals has ushered in a new era for the global surgery community. Sustainable Development Goal 3, to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being at all ages,” emphasizes health system strengthening and universal health coverage.6 The provision of available, accessible, safe, timely, and affordable surgical and anesthesia care is identified as an integral component of a functional health system in countries at all levels of economic development and as essential to achieving universal health coverage. In addition, the importance of increasing education, safety, and capacity for the provision of surgical, anesthetic, and obstetric care is highlighted by several global health and development agencies and policy makers, including the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO).

As a result, the emerging field of global surgery has increased in priority among health practitioners, including nonphysician surgeons and anesthetists, researchers, and students. Evidence of this prioritization includes a shift toward incorporating surgical care as an integral part of global health systems strengthening in LMICs that has occurred and will likely continue to grow in importance within global health agendas. Lastly, interest in the field from an academic research standpoint is evidenced by the increase in peer-reviewed publications. Between 2005 and 2015, research publications in the field of global surgery increased from approximately 570 articles in 2005 to more than 4,000 articles published in 2015, according to PubMed.

Because of the growing interest in global surgery, momentum in this emerging field, and the importance of global surgery in the training of health professionals, we aimed to summarize the top resources in global surgery to orient readers to the field. We undertook a 2-stage process to identify and select the top 10 resources in global surgery.

Mobile technologies to support healthcare provider to healthcare provider communication and management of care

Background: The widespread use of mobile technologies can potentially expand the use of telemedicine approaches to facilitate communication between healthcare providers, this might increase access to specialist advice and improve patient health outcomes.

Objectives: To assess the effects of mobile technologies versus usual care for supporting communication and consultations between healthcare providers on healthcare providers’ performance, acceptability and satisfaction, healthcare use, patient health outcomes, acceptability and satisfaction, costs, and technical difficulties.

Search methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase and three other databases from 1 January 2000 to 22 July 2019. We searched clinical trials registries, checked references of relevant systematic reviews and included studies, and contacted topic experts.

Selection criteria: Randomised trials comparing mobile technologies to support healthcare provider to healthcare provider communication and consultations compared with usual care.

Data collection and analysis: We followed standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane and EPOC. We used the GRADE approach to assess the certainty of the evidence.

Main results: We included 19 trials (5766 participants when reported), most were conducted in high-income countries. The most frequently used mobile technology was a mobile phone, often accompanied by training if it was used to transfer digital images. Trials recruited participants with different conditions, and interventions varied in delivery, components, and frequency of contact. We judged most trials to have high risk of performance bias, and approximately half had a high risk of detection, attrition, and reporting biases. Two studies reported data on technical problems, reporting few difficulties. Mobile technologies used by primary care providers to consult with hospital specialists We assessed the certainty of evidence for this group of trials as moderate to low. Mobile technologies: – probably make little or no difference to primary care providers following guidelines for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD; 1 trial, 47 general practices, 3004 participants); – probably reduce the time between presentation and management of individuals with skin conditions, people with symptoms requiring an ultrasound, or being referred for an appointment with a specialist after attending primary care (4 trials, 656 participants); – may reduce referrals and clinic visits among people with some skin conditions, and increase the likelihood of receiving retinopathy screening among people with diabetes, or an ultrasound in those referred with symptoms (9 trials, 4810 participants when reported); – probably make little or no difference to patient-reported quality of life and health-related quality of life (2 trials, 622 participants) or to clinician-assessed clinical recovery (2 trials, 769 participants) among individuals with skin conditions; – may make little or no difference to healthcare provider (2 trials, 378 participants) or participant acceptability and satisfaction (4 trials, 972 participants) when primary care providers consult with dermatologists; – may make little or no difference for total or expected costs per participant for adults with some skin conditions or CKD (6 trials, 5423 participants). Mobile technologies used by emergency physicians to consult with hospital specialists about people attending the emergency department We assessed the certainty of evidence for this group of trials as moderate. Mobile technologies: – probably slightly reduce the consultation time between emergency physicians and hospital specialists (median difference -12 minutes, 95% CI -19 to -7; 1 trial, 345 participants); – probably reduce participants’ length of stay in the emergency department by a few minutes (median difference -30 minutes, 95% CI -37 to -25; 1 trial, 345 participants). We did not identify trials that reported on providers’ adherence, participants’ health status and well-being, healthcare provider and participant acceptability and satisfaction, or costs. Mobile technologies used by community health workers or home-care workers to consult with clinic staff We assessed the certainty of evidence for this group of trials as moderate to low. Mobile technologies: – probably make little or no difference in the number of outpatient clinic and community nurse consultations for participants with diabetes or older individuals treated with home enteral nutrition (2 trials, 370 participants) or hospitalisation of older individuals treated with home enteral nutrition (1 trial, 188 participants); – may lead to little or no difference in mortality among people living with HIV (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.22) or diabetes (RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.28 to 3.12) (2 trials, 1152 participants); – may make little or no difference to participants’ disease activity or health-related quality of life in participants with rheumatoid arthritis (1 trial, 85 participants); – probably make little or no difference for participant acceptability and satisfaction for participants with diabetes and participants with rheumatoid arthritis (2 trials, 178 participants). We did not identify any trials that reported on providers’ adherence, time between presentation and management, healthcare provider acceptability and satisfaction, or costs.

Authors’ conclusions: Our confidence in the effect estimates is limited. Interventions including a mobile technology component to support healthcare provider to healthcare provider communication and management of care may reduce the time between presentation and management of the health condition when primary care providers or emergency physicians use them to consult with specialists, and may increase the likelihood of receiving a clinical examination among participants with diabetes and those who required an ultrasound. They may decrease the number of people attending primary care who are referred to secondary or tertiary care in some conditions, such as some skin conditions and CKD. There was little evidence of effects on participants’ health status and well-being, satisfaction, or costs.

The Role of the Orthopaedic Surgeon in the COVID-19 Era: Cautions and Perspectives

The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has revolutionized global healthcare in an unprecedented way and with unimaginable repercussions. Resource reallocation, socioeconomic confinement and reorganization of production activities are current challenges being faced both at the national and international levels, in a frame of uncertainty and fear. Hospitals have been restructured to provide the best care to COVID-19 patients while adopting preventive strategies not to spread the infection among healthcare providers and patients affected by other diseases. As a consequence, the concept of urgency and indications for elective treatments have been profoundly reshaped. In addition, several providers have been recruited in COVID-19 departments despite their original occupation, resulting in a profound rearrangement of both inpatient and outpatient care. Orthopaedic daily practice has been significantly affected by the pandemic. Surgical indications have been reformulated, with elective cases being promptly postponed and urgent interventions requiring exceptional attention, especially in suspected or COVID-19+ patients. This has made a strong impact on inpatient management, with the need of a dedicated staff, patient isolation and restrictive visiting hour policies. On the other hand, outpatient visits have been limited to reduce contacts between patients and the hospital personnel, with considerable consequences on post-operative quality of care and the human side of medical practice.

In this review, we aim to analyze the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the orthopaedic practice. Particular attention will be dedicated to opportune surgical indication, perioperative care and safe management of both inpatients and outpatients, also considering repercussions of the pandemic on resident education and ethical implications.

Education in ear and hearing care in remote or resource-constrained environments.

At the heart of surgical care needs to be the education and training of staff, particularly in the low-income and/or resource-poor setting. This is the primary means by which self-sufficiency and sustainability will ultimately be achieved. As such, training and education should be integrated into any surgical programme that is undertaken. Numerous resources are available to help provide such a goal, and an open approach to novel, inexpensive training methods is likely to be helpful in this type of setting.The need for appropriately trained audiologists in low-income countries is well recognised and clearly goes beyond providing support for ear surgery. However, where ear surgery is being undertaken, it is vital to have audiology services established in order to correctly assess patients requiring surgery, and to be able to assess and manage outcomes of surgery. The training requirements of the two specialties are therefore intimately linked.This article highlights various methods, resources and considerations, for both otolaryngology and audiology training, which should prove a useful resource to those undertaking and organising such education, and to those staff members receiving it.

Backward Planning a Craniomaxillofacial Trauma Curriculum for the Surgical Workforce in Low-Resource Settings.

Trauma is a significant contributor to global disease, and low-income countries disproportionately shoulder this burden. Education and training are critical components in the effort to address the surgical workforce shortage. Educators can tailor training to a diverse background of health professionals in low-resource settings using competency-based curricula. We present a process for the development of a competency-based curriculum for low-resource settings in the context of craniomaxillofacial (CMF) trauma education.

CMF trauma surgeons representing 7 low-, middle-, and high-income countries conducted a standardized educational curriculum development program. Patient problems related to facial injuries were identified and ranked from highest to lowest morbidity. Higher morbidity problems were categorized into 4 modules with agreed upon competencies. Methods of delivery (lectures, case discussions, and practical exercises) were selected to optimize learning of each competency.

A facial injuries educational curriculum (1.5 days event) was tailored to health professionals with diverse training backgrounds who care for CMF trauma patients in low-resource settings. A backward planned, competency-based curriculum was organized into four modules titled: acute (emergent), eye (periorbital injuries and sight preserving measures), mouth (dental injuries and fracture care), and soft tissue injury treatments. Four courses have been completed with pre- and post-course assessments completed.

Surgeons and educators from a diverse geographic background found the backward planning curriculum development method effective in creating a competency-based facial injuries (trauma) course for health professionals in low-resource settings, where contextual aspects of shortages of surgical capacity, equipment, and emergency transportation must be considered.

The ReSurge Global Training Program: A Model for Surgical Training and Capacity Building in Global Reconstructive Surgery.

A paradigm shift is underway in the world of humanitarian global surgery to address the large unmet need for reconstructive surgical services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Here, we discuss the ReSurge Global Training Program (RGTP), a model for surgical training and capacity building in reconstructive surgery in the developing world. The program includes an online reconstructive surgery curriculum, visiting educator trips, expert reconstructive surgeon involvement, trainee competency tracking system, and identification of local outreach partners to provide safe reconstructive surgery to the neediest of patients in the developing world.A retrospective review of the components of the RGTP from July 2014 through June 2017 was performed. Trainee milestones scores were analyzed to observe trends toward competency in specific plastic surgery skill sets.There were a total of 38 visiting educator trips during the study period. The trips took place in 10 LMICs. A total of 149 trainees were evaluated in the context of the visiting educator trips with 377 distinct submodule evaluations. Four trainees had more than 10 submodule evaluations over 2 or more visiting educator trips. There was notable improvement in milestones ratings over time among the trainees in this program.The RGTP is a model of reconstructive surgical training and capacity building in LMICs. Trainees develop important skill sets in reconstructive surgery as a result of their involvement in the program. This comprehensive training approach addresses the disparity in access to care in the developing world by providing short- and long-term solutions to unmet reconstructive needs.