Validity evidence for Surgical Improvement of Clinical Knowledge Ops: a novel gaming platform to assess surgical decision making

Published:October 20, 2014DOI:



      Current surgical education curricula focus mainly on the acquisition of technical skill rather than clinical and operative judgment. SICKO (Surgical Improvement of Clinical Knowledge Ops) is a novel gaming platform developed to address this critical need. A pilot study was performed to collect validity evidence for SICKO as an assessment for surgical decision making.


      Forty-nine subjects stratified into 4 levels of expertise were recruited to play SICKO. Later, players were surveyed regarding the realism of the gaming platform as well as the clinical competencies required of them while playing SICKO.


      Each group of increasing expertise outperformed the less experienced groups. Mean total game scores for the novice, junior resident, senior resident, and expert groups were 5,461, 8,519, 11,404, and 13,913, respectively (P = .001). Survey results revealed high scores for realism and content.


      SICKO holds the potential to be not only an engaging and immersive educational tool, but also a valid assessment in the armamentarium of surgical educators.


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