Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 31, Issue 10, pp 3836–3846 | Cite as

Educational implications for surgical telementoring: a current review with recommendations for future practice, policy, and research

  • K. M. Augestad
  • H. Han
  • J. Paige
  • T. Ponsky
  • C. M. Schlachta
  • B. Dunkin
  • J. MellingerEmail author
White Paper



Surgical telementoring (ST) was introduced in the sixties, promoting videoconferencing to enhance surgical education across large distances. Widespread use of ST in the surgical community is lacking. Despite numerous surveys assessing ST, there remains a lack of high-level scientific evidence demonstrating its impact on mentorship and surgical education. Despite this, there is an ongoing paradigm shift involving remote presence technologies and their application to skill development and technique dissemination in the international surgical community. Factors facilitating this include improved access to ST technology, including ease of use and data transmission, and affordability. Several international research initiatives have commenced to strengthen the scientific foundation documenting the impact of ST in surgical education and performance.


International experts on ST were invited to the SAGES Project Six Summit in August 2015. Two experts in surgical education prepared relevant questions for discussion and organized the meeting (JP and HH). The questions were open-ended, and the discussion continued until no new item appeared. The transcripts of interviews were recorded by a secretary from SAGES.


In this paper, we present a summary of the work performed by the SAGES Project 6 Education Working Group. We summarize the existing evidence regarding education in ST, identify and detail conceptual educational frameworks that may be used during ST, and present a structured framework for an educational curriculum in ST.


The educational impact and optimal curricular organization of ST programs are largely unexplored. We outline the critical components of a structured ST curriculum, including prerequisites, teaching modalities, and key curricular components. We also detail research strategies critical to its continued evolution as an educational tool, including randomized controlled trials, establishment of a quality registry, qualitative research, learning analytics, and development of a standardized taxonomy.


Telementoring Telemedicine Surgical education Surgical training Surgical technology Health policy 



Rolv-Ole Lindsetmo, MD, PhD; Michael Kim, MD; Melina Vassilou, MD; Erik Dutson, MD; Maria Marcela Bailez, MD; Rifat Latifi, MD. Industry participants: Chuck Kennedy (Medtronic), Brian Witte (Ethicon), Kris Danforth (Stryker), Suzanne Jefferson (Karl Storz), Anthony Jarc (Intuitive).


Dr. Paige discloses other support from Oxford University Press, as well as grants from LSU Board of Supervisors, Acell, Inc., Intuitive Inc., HRSA, and SGEA, during the conduct of the study; he also discloses that he serves as Chair of the Continuing Education Committee for SAGES. Dr. Ponsky discloses personal fees from Conmed, during the conduct of the study. Drs. Augestad, Han, Schlachta, Dunkin, and Mellinger have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. M. Augestad
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. Han
    • 3
  • J. Paige
    • 4
  • T. Ponsky
    • 5
  • C. M. Schlachta
    • 6
  • B. Dunkin
    • 7
  • J. Mellinger
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryOslo University Hospital AHUSOsloNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian National Centre of TelemedicineTromsøNorway
  3. 3.Department of Medical EducationSIU School of MedicineSpringfieldUSA
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryLSU Health New Orleans School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  5. 5.Department of Pediatric SurgeryAkron Childrens HospitalAkronUSA
  6. 6.Department of Surgery, Schulich School of Medicine and DentistryWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  7. 7.Department of SurgeryHouston Methodist HospitalHoustonUSA
  8. 8.Department of SurgerySouthern Illinois University School of MedicineSpringfieldUSA

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