At-home hands-on surgical training during COVID19: proof of concept using a virtual telementoring platform

Jacob A. Greenberg, Erin Schwarz, John Paige, Jonathan Dort, Sharon Bachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction: Surgeons in practice have limited opportunities to learn new techniques and procedures. Traditionally, in-person hands-on courses have been the most common means for surgeons to gain exposure to new techniques and procedures. The COVID19 pandemic caused a cessation in these courses and left surgeons with limited opportunities to continue their professional development. Thus, SAGES elected to create an innovative hands-on course that could be completed at home in order to provide surgeons with opportunities to learn new procedures during the pandemic. Methods: This course was initially planned to be taught as an in-person hands-on course utilizing the Acquisition of Data for Outcomes and Procedure Transfer(ADOPT) method 1. We identified a virtual telementoring platform, Proximie Ltd(London, UK), and a company that could create a model of an abdominal wall in order to perform a Transversus Abdominis Release, KindHeart™(Chapel Hill, NC, USA). The course consisted of pre-course lectures and videos to be reviewed by participants, a pre-course call to set learning goals, the hands-on telementoring session from home, and monthly webinars for a year. Results: The ADOPT hands-on hernia course at home was successfully completed on October 23rd of 2020. All participants and faculty were successfully able to set up their model and utilize the telementoring platform, but 15% required assistance. Post course-surveys showed that participants felt that the course was successful in meeting their educational goals and felt similar to prior in-person courses. Conclusions: SAGES was successfully able to transition and in-person hands-on course to a virtual at-home format. This innovative approach to continuing professional development will be necessary during the times of the COVID19 pandemic, but may be a helpful option for rural surgeons and others with travel restrictions in the future to continue their professional development without the need to travel away from their practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1963-1969
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID19
  • Continuing Professional Development
  • Education
  • Hernia
  • Mentorship
  • Technology Enhanced Learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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