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Become a member and receive career-enhancing benefits

Our top priority is providing value to members. Your Member Services team is here to ensure you maximize your ACS member benefits, participate in College activities, and engage with your ACS colleagues. It's all here.

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October 13, 2022

SAN DIEGO: Members of the media are invited to view an innovative research project featuring wearable technology and surgeons' performance Monday, October 17, through Wednesday, October 19, in the Exhibit Hall of the San Diego Convention Center.  The display, called the Surgical Metrics Project, provides a rare opportunity to see firsthand how emerging technologies and data are transforming surgical training and helping practicing surgeons improve their skills. The interactive exhibit is considered one of the highlights of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Clinical Congress, one of the largest educational meetings of surgeons in the world.

A collaboration between the ACS and the Technology Enabled Clinical Improvement Center (TECI) at Stanford University, the Surgical Metrics Project provides surgeons the opportunity to use wearable technology to digitize their surgical actions and decisions and then compare their approaches to the moves of master surgeons included in a database. New this year, the Surgical Metrics Project will include a pilot collaboration with four video-based assessment companies (C-SATS, Caresyntax, Surgical Safety Technologies and Theator) and the American Board of Surgery to provide in-person video-based coaching.

Under the leadership of Carla M. Pugh, MD, PhD, FACS, professor of surgery and director of the TECI Center at Stanford, the 2022 Surgical Metrics Project will feature a newly developed, comparative performance process that will enable surgeons attending the conference to easily visualize the risks of their step-by-step decisions while performing a simulation of a hernia repair operation through a laparoscope.

How does it work?

Participating surgeons will be equipped with magnetic motion tracking technology that is small enough to fit under surgical gloves without hindering movement. Motion tracking data will be synchronized with external and laparoscopic video, as well as audio data. Video capture will offer a moment-to-moment account of each step and decision that a surgeon makes while operating, while the magnetic motion tracking technology will measure time and flow efficiency.

In addition, EEG sensors measure the brain waves of the surgeons as they perform the surgical procedures, revealing neural activity throughout process. This highlights the times when surgeons are maximally focused on critical aspects of an operation.

Motion and EEG data can give participants an efficient, accurate summary of their operative decisions, actions and preferences compared to a mastery database. The results also allow measurement of common factors that may be second nature to surgeons but can have a significant impact on efficiency and efficacy, according to Dr. Pugh.

"This year, we will be able to deliver a snapshot report card to participants immediately after they complete the procedure," Dr. Pugh said. "It will show how their results compare with other surgeons, including the quality of their hernia repair. Every surgeon wants to be the best—a gold medalist of sorts. This project allows them to compare themselves against those who have mastered these techniques. In the end, it's the patients who win because they have a surgeon operating on them who is at the top of their game."

After the data is collected

Following Clinical Congress, Dr. Pugh and colleagues will perform a large-scale, deep dive into the data and draw some conclusions that can be used for feedback, quality improvement, operative efficiency, and patient safety. The purpose is to generate an ongoing conversation about the steps surgeons can take to share tips and tricks, develop evidence-based approaches, and improve outcomes. The larger the pool of participants from different institutions and with different levels of mastery, the more useful the findings will be.

This is the second appearance for the Surgical Metrics Project at the ACS Clinical Congress. "The inaugural appearance at the 2019 meeting served as a critical building block for the comparative performance and risk-assessment process we will share with the 2022 participants," Dr. Pugh said. "We discovered that mapping the technical decisions of experienced surgeons allows the creation of a risk-assessment map that provides great insight into the efficiency and potential risks of certain actions and decisions."

The 2019 results were presented at the recent American Surgical Association annual meeting and published in the Annals of Surgery.

Dr. Pugh also will deliver the I. S. Ravdin Lecture in Basic and Surgical Sciences on Monday, October 17, during Clinical Congress. She will speak on Wearable Technology and the Quantified Surgeon: The Forefront of Precision Surgery.

Viewing hours for the ACS Exhibit Hall are 9 am to 4 pm (PDT) Mon. Oct. 17 through Wed. Oct. 19.

Apply today for media credentials to cover the Surgical Metrics Project and other presentations during the Clinical Congress. Details are online.

About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has approximately 90,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. "FACS" designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.