In his 1951 sci-fi classic, Foundation, Isaac Asimov introduced us to Hari Seldon and the “psychohistorians” who use mathematics and the psychology of populations to predict the future. As the Web increasingly connects our world of individuals into a crowd in the cloud, innovators are daily introducing technologies to harness our collective energy to efficiently offer solutions to challenges that previously were unattainable. I have never seen a similar product in this space but I have little doubt there will soon be many. C-SATS is innovation gone wild.
Clinical Transformative Potential
Crowd-sourced assessment of technical skills as a technology is new—very new—and, in theory, offers tremendous potential for helping surgeons perfect their technique. As excited as I was to try this product, the cynic in me cautions that the technology will be only as good as an individual’s willingness to accept the results and those results will be only as good as the assessment tools that are employed.
Submitting oneself to the judgment of others can be a threatening endeavor but, more often than not, improving necessitates some external analysis and feedback. In that regard, the technology introduced by C-SATS is beautiful in its efficiency and cold anonymity. It is not a panacea for inadequately trained surgeons or a perfectly validated method of assessing surgical competence but it is a really exciting start. Physicians who are not interested in improving their professional skills need to get different jobs. As I have long maintained, to expect perfection is unrealistic; to not seek perfection is unacceptable.
1. Chen C, White L, Kowalewski T, Aggarwal R, et al. Crowd-sourced assessment of technical skills: a novel method to evaluate surgical performance. J Surg Res. 2014;187:65.