Training and Coaching for Improved Surgical Performance

Enhancing surgical skills should continue long after a surgeon graduates from medical school. Ariadne Labs has developed programs aimed at ensuring surgeons pursue surgical excellence via continuous professional development and performance improvement throughout their career. 

Team Training

Teamwork and communication are important skills for health care workers to provide better, safer patient care. However, such skills don’t develop automatically. In 2020, the  Safe Surgery / Safe Systems team and the American Hospital Association Team Training launched a training framework for simulation-based training of these essential skills. The program, Video-Triggered Teamwork Training, can be completed in an hour, and is an easy-to-use solution to help teams identify and apply key tactics for effective communication. 

Surgical Coaching

The Surgical Coaching for Operative Performance Enhancement (SCOPE) Program  promotes and facilitates coaching as a way to improve surgeons’ performance and outcomes. 

Ariadne Labs helps develop and implement the SCOPE program within hospital surgical departments and, along with our partners, conducts coaching workshops for all participants. Our goal is to implement department-wide surgical coaching programs where attending surgeons coach other peer surgeons to enable deliberate, continuous professional development.

Surgical coaching differs from mentoring and teaching; it involves a partnership between two surgeons that uses collaborative analysis, constructive feedback, and action planning to achieve established professional development goals. 

Coaches observe coachees during surgery, and debrief after the procedure to discuss opportunities for improvement on technical, non-technical, and teaching skills.

Coaches and coachees collaborate and target improvements during all aspects of surgery: 

  • Preoperative: Coaches and coachees discuss the coachee’s goals.
  • Intraoperative: Coaches observe a coachee’s operation without scrubbing in. 
  • Postoperative: Coaches provide feedback on the coachee’s progress toward their performance goals. 

A study of SCOPE, published in July 2020, found that surgeons reported value in peer coaching and qualitative improvements in surgical skill; another study, published in October 2020, outlined ways that coaching programs can be implemented to align with surgical culture.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital are currently participating in the SCOPE Program.