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Development and evaluation of a patient‐centred measurement tool for surgeons’ non‐technical skills.

Published: 6th April 2018

Authors: J. Yule, K. Hill, S. Yule

Background

Non‐technical skills are essential for safe and effective surgery. Several tools to assess surgeons' non‐technical skills from the clinician's perspective have been developed. However, a reliable measurement tool using a patient‐centred approach does not currently exist. The aim of this study was to translate the existing Non‐Technical Skills for Surgeons (NOTSS) tool into a patient‐centred evaluation tool.

Method

Data were gathered from four cohorts of patients using an iterative four‐stage mixed‐methods research design. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were performed to establish the psychometric properties of the tool, focusing on validity, reliability, usability and parsimony.

Results

Some 534 patients were recruited to the study. A total of 24 patient‐centred non‐technical skill items were developed in stage 1, and reduced to nine items in stage 2 using exploratory factor analysis. In stage 3, confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that these nine items each loaded on to one of three factors, with excellent internal consistency: decision‐making, leadership, and communication and teamwork. In stage 4, validity testing established that the new tool was independent of physician empathy and predictive of surgical quality. Surgical leadership emerged as the most dominant skill that patients could recognize and evaluate.

Conclusion

A novel nine‐item assessment tool has been developed. The Patients' Evaluation of Non‐Technical Skills (PENTS) tool allows valid and reliable measurement of surgeons' non‐technical skills from the patient perspective.

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