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The "TouchSurgery" Surgical Simulation App: A Comparative Analysis of Efficacy Using a Carpal Tunnel Release Module
Kamil Amer, BS1; Asif Ilyas, MD2
1Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; 2Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA

Introduction: The need and utilization for surgical simulation training in medical school and residency programs continue to grow. The "TouchSurgery" application is a new interactive virtual reality smartphone or tablet-based application that offers a step-by- step tutorial and simulation for the execution of various operations. TThe purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy and validity of the application versus traditional teaching modalities utilizing the "Carpal Tunnel Surgery" module.

Methods: A total 100 medical students were recruited to participate. The control group (n=50) consisted of medical students learning about carpal tunnel release surgery using the "traditional" medium consisting of a video lecture on powerpoint. The study group (n=50) consisted of students learning the procedure through the application. Each group was blinded to the other. The content covered was identical in both groups but delivered through the different mediums. Outcome measures included comparison of standardized test scores and overall application satisfaction.

Results: The study group using the "TouchSurgery" application significantly outperformed the control group with the given assessment by 14.2%. The average grade on the assessment for the application study group was 89.3 % with a Stdev of 6.05%. The average grade for the control group was 75.6% with a Stdev of 8.71%. A Two-tailed T-test was conducted and demonstrated that the difference was statistically significant (p <0.001). The students rated the overall quality of the application including content validity, quality of graphics, and ease of use as (Median: 5, Mean 4.81 0.38), Usefulness for surgical training (Median: 5, Mean: 4.74 0.41), Willingness to use the app to learn more procedures (Median: 5, Mean: 4.83 0.33), and willingness to add this application as a part of their training curriculum (Median: 5, Mean: 4.85 0.35).

Conclusion: The results of the study demonstrated that the use of the "TouchSurgery? application was superior than the traditional teaching methods for preparing medical students about the steps of a carpal tunnel release surgery. With regards to secondary objective regarding content validity, usefulness, and willingness to include this simulation as a part of the surgical education curriculum, students strongly agreed in the study group that this should be implemented within the curriculum and preferred to use it to learn other surgical procedures. The study findings lend support for the use of the application for medical students to prepare for and learn the steps for various surgical procedures.

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