Remote Instruction in Focused Assessment With Sonography in Trauma (FAST) Exams for Surgery Residents: A Pilot Study

Rui Min D. Mao, Taylor P. Williams, Nikhil R. Shah, Clifford Snyder, Joshua Person, Vicki Suzanne Klimberg, Brett Mador, Brian Buchanan, Alexander Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma (FAST) exam is an important component to the evaluation of trauma patients. With advances in technology and meeting limitations due to COVID-19, remote instruction and learning have gained popularity. We sought to determine whether remote instruction of FAST exams was feasible as sustainable surgical education and a possible alternative to traditional in-person teaching. Methods: General surgery residents completed a baseline survey and skills assessment on FAST exams and were then randomized to remote or in-person instruction. The remote group participated in an instructional session with a content expert through video conference and then practiced on a simulated mannequin while the expert remotely provided feedback. The in-person group received the experience with the content expert in the room. Both groups completed a post-course survey immediately after the session and a follow-up survey and objective assessment at six-months. Results were compared with two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results: 14 residents underwent the curriculum, seven in each group. There was a significant increase in self-reported confidence when comparing pre- and immediate post-course results for both the remote and in-person groups. At six months, confidence scores remained elevated and skill assessment scores improved, although the latter did not reach significance. There was no significant difference in post-course results between the groups. Conclusions: Remote instruction of FAST exams was feasible. Pilot data demonstrated an increase in confidence and suggest outcomes that are similar to in-person instruction, which has positive implications for future remote educational and potentially clinical initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5407-5413
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • resident education
  • surgical education
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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