Surgical training is one of the multiple areas where robotics has introduced radical innovations. Simulator training opened a world of possibilities.
The original da Vinci Skills Simulator supported a number of training exercises designed by third party software companies (mimic, simbionix). The software continued to develop and virtual surgical procedures come to the scene. One of the strengths of the system is that the procedures are performed at the surgeon´s console, the same console that is used in real surgery. So, notice that it perfectly resembles a flight simulator like the ones used to train real pilots.
Recently Intuitive changed the hardware for the da Vinci simulator. Now it is named SimNow, and, following times, it has gone to the Web. Through the da Vinci Surgery Community every surgeon holds a personal profile and a record of his/her training and achievements. Also the robotic coordinator can asign tasks with a due date as part of the personal training pathway of every surgeon. A set of minimun skills is being developed as part of the creditialing process. This is meant to introduce a quality check that will ultimately improve patient safety.
Obviously, this goes far beyond robotic surgery itself, and it is really meant to change the way we learn surgery.