BACKGROUND: Practicing surgeons commonly learn new procedures and techniques by attending a "hands-on" course, though trainings are often ineffective at promoting subsequent procedure adoption in practice. We describe implementation of a new program with the SAGES All Things Hernia Hands-On Course, Acquisition of Data for Outcomes and Procedure Transfer (ADOPT), which employs standardized, proven teaching techniques, and 1-year mentorship. Attendee confidence and procedure adoption are compared between standard and ADOPT programs.
METHODS: For the pilot ADOPT course implementation, a hands-on course focusing on abdominal wall hernia repair was chosen. ADOPT participants were recruited among enrollees for the standard Hands-On Hernia Course. Enrollment in ADOPT was capped at 10 participants and limited to a 2:1 student-to-faculty ratio, compared to the standard course 22 participants with a 4:1 student-to-faculty ratio. ADOPT mentors interacted with participants through webinars, phone conferences, and continuous email availability throughout the year. All participants were asked to provide pre- and post-course surveys inquiring about the number of targeted hernia procedures performed and related confidence level.
RESULTS: Four of 10 ADOPT participants (40%) and six of 22 standard training participants (27%) returned questionnaires. Over the 3 months following the course, ADOPT participants performed more ventral hernia mesh insertion procedures than standard training participants (median 13 vs. 0.5, p = 0.010) and considerably more total combined procedures (median 26 vs. 7, p = 0.054). Compared to standard training, learners who participated in ADOPT reported greater confidence improvements in employing a components separation via an open approach (p = 0.051), and performing an open transversus abdominis release, though the difference did not achieve statistical significance (p = 0.14).
DISCUSSION: These results suggest that the ADOPT program, with standardized and structured teaching, telementoring, and a longitudinal educational approach, is effective and leads to better transfer of learned skills and procedures to clinical practice.