But it requires specialized training that is challenging under the best of circumstances. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery cites
- a shrinking applicant pool,
- high attrition rates,
- an aging thoracic surgery workforce and
- resident workweeks greater than 80 hours
as significant challenges to surgical training. New, potentially life-saving devices can get stopped at the training bottleneck.
The learning to be a thoracic surgeon is a dynamic process that requires continually updating as medical device manufacturers invent novel and less invasive ways to treat patients. 20 years ago, who could have foreseen replacing an aortic valve through a tiny incision in the femoral or the need minimally invasive complex cardiac procedures or the sophisticated robotic general thoracic procedures? Medical device manufacturers need to provide training for cardio-thoracic surgeons so they can feel comfortable with new technology to ultimately improve patient care.
Medical device manufacturers can constructively contribute to the training regime with demonstration models that provide insights into surgical procedures and possibilities. Healthcare is a hands-on business, training is most effective when the clinician is involved in a physical learning experience. Clinically realistic models simulate the look and feel of human organs to provide that hands-on involvement. They are built to be endlessly reused so the knowledge they offer can be repeated many times without additional cost.
This model shows a heart pump device and provides realistic suturing and placement information.