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Surgical Innovation
May 2017

Incorporating Metrics of Surgical Proficiency Into Credentialing and Privileging Pathways

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Surg. 2017;152(5):494-495. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0025

The burden to ensure competency with new surgical technologies lies with the institution and the individual surgeon. In Taylor et al v Intuitive Surgical, Inc, the jury ruled that the manufacturer of the new surgical equipment was not liable after a patient experienced numerous postoperative complications following a robotic-assisted prostatectomy by a novice robotic surgeon.1 Currently, completion of an accredited residency, certification by a surgical board, and previous operative experience, as assessed by procedural volume, are the metrics most hospitals use to justify competency and provide privileges.2 However, little information exists to help institutions assess the proficiency of surgeons when they apply for privileges. As the pace of surgical innovation and the demand from patients for new technology increases, there is an urgent need to develop more objective methods to assess surgical competency for credentialing.

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