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Anonymous peer feedback through social networking helped residents improve their skills
Date:6/17/2014

chnique may one day become a paradigm for giving surgeons the privileges to operate at some medical institutions.

Hu said that because this platform is anonymous and accessible without time restraints or requiring a coach to be in the operating room during an procedure, it can greatly improve the quality of surgery among trainees, young surgeons who just finished training and more experienced surgeons seeking to refine their technique or adopt new technologies with challenging learning curves, such as robotic surgery.

After viewing the video, posted anonymously on the Google+ group forum, the residents in the intervention arm, also anonymously, would post comments on the performance and offer tips for improvement, Hu said. Comments included such suggestions as "be a little easier on the tissue" and "zoom in with the camera for better visualization."

Hu said certain medical specialties can be slow to adopt new technologies, so this would provide an "egoless" opportunity to improve technique. Additionally, more experienced surgeons often don't have time to coach younger surgeons, while older, more proficient surgeons can be reluctant to seek help from junior surgeons.

"Surgery can be very hierarchical," he said. "When the robot came out a decade ago in urology, the people that really embraced it were the younger doctors. Many more established surgeons were resistant, claiming it wasn't as good as open surgery," Hu said. "It can be very humbling for the more experienced surgeons to get coached by surgeons with less prestige."

However, using online peer review through social networking protects the identities of those reviewing and commenting and those whose craft is being examined. Surgeons can check their egos at the digital door, Hu said.

"Our study demonstrates the efficacy of peer feedback through social networking, a novel paradigm for technical mentorship. A benefit of using social networking as a forum is tha
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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2262
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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