Additional evidence showing the benefits of Surgical Coaching was recently published in Annals of Surgery. This NIH-funded study was a collaboration between the Michigan Bariatric Surgical Collaborative and members of the Academy team. We asked if surgical coaching improved surgeon operative performance. We found that surgical coaching helped reduce surgeon operative time, reducing average operative time from 92.5 minutes down to 78.5 minutes, a difference of 14 minutes (15%).

Figure of research results showing change in operative time before and after surgical coaching

What was the program?

The setting was the Michigan Bariatric Surgical Collaborative (MBSC), a state-wide network of surgeons that share details about their practice to improve surgical care for patients. In 2015 to 2018, in collaboration with the Academy for Surgical Coaching cofounders Caprice Greenberg and Sudha Pavuluri Quamme, MSBC rolled out a coaching program to improve operative performance.

Who Participated in the Program?

The top-performing surgeons in MSBC were selected to receive surgical coach training. The remaining MSBC-enrolled surgeons were invited to participate and receive coaching. In total, the program trained 14 Surgical Coaches, enrolled 26 surgeon participants, and analyzed a panel of 24 surgeons who met the inclusion criteria to serve as a non-interventional control. The Surgical Coaches and surgeon participants met, on average, for six 1-hour coaching sessions. Outcomes were evaluated through participant feedback and systematic collection of procedural data within the MSBC.

What do these results mean? 

This program was the largest clinical study of the benefits of surgical coaching to date, and one of the first interventional studies of Surgical Coaching to evaluate short-term operative outcomes. This research adds to the body of Surgical Coaching literature that has demonstrated that Surgical Coaching is feasible and acceptable for busy surgeons in practice (1, 2), has a high perceived value for professional development (1, 4), can increase safe adoption of new beneficial techniques (3), can improve teamwork, communication, and awareness in OR (4, 5), has potential to improve surgeon well-being and patient outcomes (4, 5).

  1. Greenberg CC, et al. A Statewide Surgical Coaching Program Provides Opportunity for CPD. Ann Surg. 2018; 267(5):868-73
  2. Pradarelli JC, et al. Surgeon’s Coaching Techniques in the Surgical Coaching for Operative Performance Enhancement (SCOPE) Program. Ann Surg. 2020. Online
  3. Greenberg JA, et al. A structured, extended training program to facilitate adoption of new techniques for practice surgeons. Surg Endosc. 2018;32(1):217-24
  4. Pradarelli JC, et al. Surgical Coaching for Operative Performance Enhancement (SCOPE): skill ratings and impact on surgeons’ practice. Surg Endosc. 2020. Online
  5. Greenberg CC, et al. Association Between Surgeon Technical Skills and Patient Outcomes. Ann Surg. 2021;155(10):960-8