In surgery, electronic healthcare systems offer numerous options to improve patient care. The aim of this study was to analyse the current status of digitalisation and its influence in surgery, with a special focus on surgical education and training.
An individually created questionnaire was used to analyse the subjective assessment of the digitalisation processes in clinical surgery. The online questionnaire consisted of 16 questions regarding the importance and the corresponding implementation of the teaching content: big data, health apps, messenger apps, telemedicine, data protection/IT security, ethics, simulator training, economics and e‑Learning were included. The participation link was sent to members of the German Society of Surgery via the e‑Mail distribution list.
In total, 119 surgeons (response rate = 19.8%) took part in the survey: 18.5% of them were trainees (TR), and 81.5% had already completed specialist training (SP). Overall, 66.4% confirmed a positive influence of digitalisation on the quality of patient care. The presence of a surgical robot was confirmed by 47.9% of the participants. A further 22.0% (n = 26) of the participants confirmed the possibility of using virtual simulators. According to 79.0% of the participants, the integration of digital technologies in surgical education for basic and advanced stage surgeons should be aimed for. Data protection (1.7) and e‑Learning (1.7) were rated as the most important teaching content. The greatest discrepancy between importance and implementation was seen in the teaching content of big data (mean: 2.2–3.8).
The results of the survey reveal the particular importance of digitalisation content for surgery, surgical education and training. At the same time, the results underline the desire for increased integration of digital competence teaching. The data also show an overall more progressive and optimistic perception of TR. In order to meet the challenges of the digital transformation, the implementation of suitable curricula, including virtual simulation-based training and blended-learning teaching concepts, should be emphasised.