Imperial College London

Pilots training technique developed to improve safety in operating theatre


Chinmay Gupte

Cognitive task analysis training, used extensively in the airline industry to train pilots, is a novel way to teach keyhole knee surgery.

Researchers and sports surgeons at Imperial College London and UCL have developed a novel way of teaching keyhole knee surgery, which improves the way surgeons think during an operation and improves their acquisition of surgical skills. It is hoped that this reduces the chances of mistakes being made by trainee surgeons by practicing away from patients

The “IUMeRCTA” is a multimedia training tool that can be downloaded onto a tablet device and segments each operation into small steps, identifying the decision-making underpinning these steps, as well as how to avoid common mistakes.

Because the tool is web-based and remotely accessible, it will also allow the training of surgeons in developing countries, where sophisticated training tools are not available.

The work, due to be published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, forms part of a larger program of improving the safety of surgical training in sports surgery, as well as trauma surgery. This includes hologram-based training, virtual reality simulators and tablet-based applications.

Chinmay Gupte, the lead researcher at the Imperial Orthopaedic simulation lab in the Department of Surgery and Cancer, who is also a senior sports knee surgeon, commented: "We can use this technique anywhere to teach an operation using either the most basic or sophisticated of simulators. In this way, we should reduce the number of mistakes made during the early part of the learning curve, so that there is less chance of harm to patients."

The team now aims to apply the same technique to other knee operations as well as emergency orthopedic surgery.


Benjamin Coleman

Benjamin Coleman
Department of Surgery & Cancer

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