Simulation-based care pathway approach (CPA) training is a novel approach in surgical education. The objective of the present study was to determine whether CPA was feasible for training surgical residents and could improve efficiency in patients’ management. A common disease was chosen: acute appendicitis.
All five junior residents of our department were trained in CPA: preoperative CPA consisted in virtual patients (VPs) presenting with acute right iliac fossa pain; intraoperative CPA involved a virtual competency-based curriculum for laparoscopic appendectomy (LAPP); finally, post-operative VP were reviewed after LAPP. Thirty-eight patients undergoing appendectomy were prospectively included before (n = 21) and after (n = 17) the training. All demographic and perioperative data were prospectively collected from their medical records, and time taken from admission to management was measured.
All residents had performed less than 10 LAPP as primary operator. Pre- and intraoperative data were comparable between pretraining and post-training patients. Times to liquid and solid diet were significantly reduced after training [7 h (2–20) vs. 4 (4–6); P = 0.004, and 17 h (4–48) vs. 6 (4–24); P = 0.005] without changing post-operative morbidity [4 (19%) vs. 0 (0); P = 0.11] and length of stay [48 h (30–264) vs. 44 (21–145); P = 0.22].
CPA training is feasible in abdominal surgery. In the current study, it improved patients’ management in terms of earlier oral intake.