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Surgical Innovation
November 2015

Crowdsourcing to Assess Surgical Skill

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Urology, Seattle Children’s Hospital, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 2Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • 3Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
JAMA Surg. 2015;150(11):1086-1087. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2015.2405

Surgical skills impact patient outcomes.1 Our profession needs methods that accurately and objectively evaluate surgical skills.2 These methods must provide timely and meaningful feedback, minimize review time burden, and scale for widespread use. This evaluation hurdle may be overcome by leveraging crowdsourcing to help triage outliers and focus improvement efforts. Crowdsourcing is the process of using large groups of decentralized, independent people providing aggregated feedback.3 Crowdsourcing to assess surgical skill is a method by which surgical technique can be assessed by crowds of reviewers, some of whom are nonmedically trained. Crowdsourcing has enjoyed broad success in health care—discovering protein-folding patterns, assisting disabled patients, locating automatic defibrillators within cities, and annotating electronic medical records.3

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