Background Almost all surgical procedures involve the use of devices that apply energy to tissue. Adverse events can occur if the devices are not used appropriately. The SAGES' Fundamental Use of Surgical EnergyTM (FUSE) program will include a curriculum and certification examination to address this safety issue. The aim of this study was to determine the self-perceived knowledge of practicing surgeons related to energy-based devices and identify areas to emphasize in the assessment component of FUSE. Methods Psychometric experts led the test development process. During a 2-day retreat, a multidisciplinary group defined 63 test objectives assessing the knowledge and skills required to use energy-based surgical instruments safely (job task analysis). A survey was sent to a sample of 103 SAGES leaders and others in the test target audience to determine the number of items to use for the certification examination. Participants rated each objective for frequency, relevance, and importance on a 1-7 scale with the means used to create a weighted scale. The survey also included five self-assessment questions. Results Fifty surveys were completed; only 28 % of respondents considered themselves experts. The most common source of knowledge was industry sales representative or course (42 %). The highest weighted topic was Prevention of Adverse Events with Electrosurgery. The highest-rated objectives (>6 out of 7) were Identify various mechanisms whereby electrosurgical injuries may occur, Identify patient protection measures for setup and settings for the electrosurgical unit, and Identify circumstances, mechanisms, and prevention of dispersive electrodes-related injury. Conclusions Although basic and advanced energy-based devices are commonly used, training has been largely dependent upon industry representatives or industry-sponsored courses. Few surgeons consider themselves experts in the mechanisms of action and the appropriate and safe use of energy-based surgical devices. Competencies that emphasize electrosurgical safety were viewed as most important for the FUSE certification examination.
- Certification examination
- Energy-based surgical devices
- FUSE program
- Operating room safety