To develop and validate a scoring system for a training assessment tool using a box trainer which can objectively demonstrate progression in laparoscopic skills.
170 assessments were performed over a 5-year period by doctors working in a busy paediatric surgical department. Each participant was scored based on experience and then undertook six laparoscopic tasks in a box trainer in a dry skills lab. The quicker and more accurate the performance, the lower the score. Validity and reliability tests were applied.
Pearson correlation coefficient demonstrated that more experienced surgeons performed better than novices with an r of -0.63 (p < 0.001). The mean assessment scores improved (reduced) with increasing experience score [4140 (0-20), 2696 (21-40), 1969 (>40) p < 0.001]. Improvement in score was seen at all experience levels with greatest improvement seen in the less experienced (2315, 1820, 1571 p < 0.001). Cronbach's alpha was 0.70 and the intraclass correlation coefficient for test-retest reliability was 0.81.
Construct validity with adequate reliability has been demonstrated for this simple training tool and scoring system. All experience levels demonstrated improvement in their laparoscopic skills by simulation training in a laparoscopic box trainer.