Educational implications for surgical telementoring: a current review with recommendations for future practice, policy, and research

K. M. Augestad, H. Han, J. Paige, T. Ponsky, C. M. Schlachta, B. Dunkin, J. Mellinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical telementoring (ST) was introduced in the sixties, promoting videoconferencing to enhance surgical education across large distances. Widespread use of ST in the surgical community is lacking. Despite numerous surveys assessing ST, there remains a lack of high-level scientific evidence demonstrating its impact on mentorship and surgical education. Despite this, there is an ongoing paradigm shift involving remote presence technologies and their application to skill development and technique dissemination in the international surgical community. Factors facilitating this include improved access to ST technology, including ease of use and data transmission, and affordability. Several international research initiatives have commenced to strengthen the scientific foundation documenting the impact of ST in surgical education and performance. Methods: International experts on ST were invited to the SAGES Project Six Summit in August 2015. Two experts in surgical education prepared relevant questions for discussion and organized the meeting (JP and HH). The questions were open-ended, and the discussion continued until no new item appeared. The transcripts of interviews were recorded by a secretary from SAGES. Results: In this paper, we present a summary of the work performed by the SAGES Project 6 Education Working Group. We summarize the existing evidence regarding education in ST, identify and detail conceptual educational frameworks that may be used during ST, and present a structured framework for an educational curriculum in ST. Conclusions: The educational impact and optimal curricular organization of ST programs are largely unexplored. We outline the critical components of a structured ST curriculum, including prerequisites, teaching modalities, and key curricular components. We also detail research strategies critical to its continued evolution as an educational tool, including randomized controlled trials, establishment of a quality registry, qualitative research, learning analytics, and development of a standardized taxonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3836-3846
Number of pages11
JournalSurgical Endoscopy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Health policy
  • Surgical education
  • Surgical technology
  • Surgical training
  • Telemedicine
  • Telementoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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