Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
After finishing my surgical residency, I aspired to a function beyond the borders of the hospital in which my surgical knowledge could be useful. The goal of helping other people by improving the education of surgeons worldwide inspired me. As a surgeon I am responsible for the medical content of the Incision Academy. I’m managing and supervising the production team and am responsible for the planning of the film shoots.
What attracted you to e-learning?
I’m focussed on making qualitatively great content, and this role allows me to finetune and perfect the content I create. I’m really passionate about standardisation, and how it helps to accelerate the learning curve. E-learning allows me to do this gradually. During my education I noticed that each surgeon used a different method, which created a lot of confusion. With e-learning we can at least ensure that there’s the literature available and easily accessible on a platform to save time and improve the quality of education. Plus, it’s a fun way of learning, with the 3-d model and its interactions you stimulate the learning processes.
Tell us, how did it work before?
There was a lack of standardisation. Everyone had their own way of doing things, very much dependent on where you were educated. You never know whether your method is the most effective one, and the only way of learning about different techniques was through congresses. E-learning is a much better way of learning and seeing first, and then executing it after you’ve mastered the techniques.
What are some of the benefits you’re seeing in e-learning?
It offers an acceleration. In hospitals you get taught by one surgeon, whereas through e-learning it’s much easier to reach your learning curve by watching videos of different operations and surgeons;
You can take on learning wherever you are, whenever you want. Having a platform where you can pull information from of great quality, whether that’s for a test or just a quick double-check, is hugely beneficial.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see inside OR’s?
Teams: Teams needing to get to know each other, and knowing that you can rely on everyone to be prepared. When everyone knows each other, it’s much easier to work more efficiently. People who’ve not been in a particular hospital before and need to learn the protocols and expectations, is a challenge. This is where the standardisation is needed, to educate people much faster and without having to rely on books and papers but instead can learn from the comfort of their own home.
The risk of complications: The risk of complications needs to stay as low as possible. With the time-out procedure hospitals use checklists to ensure they have the right patient. But there’s still too much room for human error. To lower this risk, preparation is key, as are disinfecting, lowering the number of people entering the OR and the distractions that come with that.
Communication: One of the most important things. OR’s are often quiet places due to the extreme focus, but it’s important to be vocal about your next steps and what you’re doing so everyone in the room is up-to-date.
How does the Incision Academy work, what sources do you rely on?
The literature we focus on at Incision is of the highest level. I first look at meta-analyses that give evidence of the quality of certain techniques. I really dive into how these techniques work, what the differences are and if there’s any evidence to back them up. After this I get in touch with my own inner circle. We discuss what’s currently being said in congresses, which I then check and verify with hospitals of the highest level. We then search for a person who’s highly regarded in the medical world for doing this procedure, for instance someone from the Martini clinic in Hamburg, and we start filming.
How do you prepare the production of these videos?
Training and receiving feedback is hugely important. Most people know the right steps, but these also have to be carried out right. We’re working on video assessments, ensuring that each video is recorded well and everything’s visible for the viewer.
What’s the future of new techniques and how can the OR keep up?
We can see that we’re going to make more use of imaging techniques. Working with human actions won’t change to solely working with robots, not for a while at least. Artificial intelligence needs a lot more development before that.
A shift to more team-work, and relying on data and measurements is needed to make improvements. People in the OR need to keep schooling themselves, on each level. It’s all about interplay and communication, sharing knowledge within the team. We need front leaders and dedicated people who transfer knowledge across teams.
Every operation will have its own personal treatment path, based on sets of properties a person has. We will dive much deeper into data and look at which combination of factors are the ingredients to a certain treatment.
What are your own predictions?
I believe that surgeons will have to focus more on communication skills, and have conversations based on data. A green OR and sustainability will be hot topics, too. We hope to support this with Incision too, a focus on fewer disposables and waste.
What’s your own path within Incision?
We were mainly a production team making videos. Now I’m in the management team, where I manage the entire production team. My goal is to move towards the Medical Director role, where I can go in-depth and learn more about the medical content. It’s all about reading and staying up-to-date with new developments, so I can continue to be a good sparring partner. My focus will be on expanding my network with the hotshots within the industry, connecting these to Incision and convince them of the power of the platform. It’s all about collaborations, connections with international societies and managing these.
What’s the reaction so far, and how will you get surgeons to be more involved?
The positive feedback comes from far and wide, particularly Egypt and Indonesia. We’ve given free access for a short period of time, from which we’ve received a lot of feedback on how valuable the tool was. Egypt in particular is really using the tool, with a lot of enthusiasm and interaction. The Netherlands has a very critical public, surgeons often feel like they can do it themselves.
We’re really focusing on their pain points, knowing that surgeons are busy we can save them a lot of valuable time by offering reliable information in bite-sized chunks. The AIOS are the ones that search for this information and pass it onto the surgeons, so this is the best way to get it passed around in the team. We ensure that AIOS are receiving the videos they request and make it interactive and of the highest quality. This way, surgeons also get convinced of its added value.
Curious to know more about Incision Academy?
The Incision Academy contains over 500 high-quality video courses on surgical procedures to prepare for your work. Explore surgical procedures step by step in 2D & 3D, master basic principles and skills, anatomy, medical technology, and much more. We bring together everything that’s required to optimize OR performance.