American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Verification by the American College of Surgeons for the Use of Emerging Technologies

At its February 1998 meeting, the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons approved a process by which its Fellows and Associate Fellows could be verified for the use of emerging technologies. This process has been designed to provide the surgeon with documentation of educational achievement sufficient to persuade those who are responsible for credentialing/privileging in the local practice setting that the surgeon can be permitted to apply the technology to patients.

Recommendation by Fellows that a new technological development should be considered for the College's verification program is to be written and should be supported by evidence that the technology is:

1. New

2. Relevant to the practice of surgery

3. Likely to affect substantial numbers of patients and surgeons

4. Approved or under consideration for approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), if the jurisdiction of the FDA pertains

5. Supported by evidence of safety and effectiveness published in the scientific literature.

Recommendations relating to this program are to be addressed to:

Committee on Emerging Surgical Technology and Education
c/o Department of Education and Surgical Services
American College of Surgeons
633 N. Saint Clair St.
Chicago, IL 60611-3211

The American College of Surgeons will verify individual surgeons in the use of emerging new technological procedures and equipment according to the following general guidelines.

New technologies that may be appropriate as subjects for the College to include in its verification process will be evaluated for the Board of Regents by the Committee on Emerging Surgical Technology and Education (CESTE) and will be based on credible recommendation by individual Fellows or by organizational elements of the College.

CESTE will report to the Board of Regents as to its assessment of the validity, or lack thereof, of the respective technology as a candidate subject for verification of surgeons by the College.

If the subject technology is judged suitable for verification by the College, a multidisciplinary panel of experts will be assembled for the purpose of stipulating the criteria appropriate for verification. These criteria would include:

1. Eligibility of applicants for verification, with qualifications based on previous training and experience.

2. Education required for the applicant surgeon's adequate understanding of and familiarization with the subject technology.

3. The environment recommended for appropriate use of the subject technology.

Based on the recommendations of the multidisciplinary expert panel, CESTE, with the approval of the Board of Regents, will identify Fellows of the College who will provide the leadership for undertaking the requisite educational effort. The leadership will proceed with organizing an educational group that will be responsible for identifying and ensuring that the faculty and methods necessary for acquisition of the knowledge and skills required of surgeons for verification are in place.

The educational process to be employed will include the following elements:

1. A statement of learning goals and objectives derived from the recommendations of the multidisciplinary expert panel, as well as a means of assessing whether the surgeon has met the program's specific learning objectives.

2. Determination and development of the desired content and materials of the educational program.

3. Definition of background requirements of applicants for entry into the educational program and a reasonable means for confirming that these requirements have been met.

4. A defined system of continuing quality improvement to ensure the ongoing quality and consistency of the educational program.

Issuance of documentation of verification for individual surgeons will occur promptly following the surgeon's successful completion of the educational program.

The College will issue recommendations regarding ongoing assessment and confirmation of the maintenance of knowledge and skills of surgeons using the technology, based on:

1. Experience
2. Outcomes
3. Continuing education


Reprinted from Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons
Vol.83, No. 05, May 1998