Article Image

Creating Educational Value for Orthopaedic Surgeons

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

Video-based learning continues to become an increasingly important educational resource for orthopaedic surgeons. For educators and learners, the critical point is that such educational video materials must be of a consistently high quality to create and retain educational value for the busy viewer, as dedicated learning time is quite limited in both surgical training and practice. This means that the video content itself must be clear, focused, and maintain the surgeon’s viewpoint. Each educational video composition must have an introduction, literature discussion, and outcomes of the demonstrated technique to appropriately convey the clinical results that are to be expected from the use of the demonstrated technique. Lastly, each video must highlight tips and tricks for the viewer and utilize multi-media features or technology that further improve the educational yield.

To set the standard for accomplishing these goals, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Orthopaedic Video Theater (OVT) hosts a peer-reviewed submission process that ensures the videos presented to AAOS members are of the highest possible caliber. This is accomplished with an objective peer-review process and judging criteria for each video. Authors are given individualized feedback, and then they edit their videos to improve the quality standard set forth, as noted above.

In the past year, orthopaedic residents, fellows, and practicing surgeons faced down an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the numerous crises that arose during this time, the pandemic also interrupted elective surgery on multiple occasions, prompted numerous educational meetings to cancel, and forced surgeons to become highly critical about the materials they used for lifelong learning. The need for an online learning platform with high-quality digital content became paramount at that moment in history.

As a result of having just launched a new web-based platform for the AAOS OVT in 2019, the OVT site quickly became the busiest site in the AAOS portfolio during the early months of the 2020 pandemic. In just a few months, more than 24,000 unique AAOS members (out of over 39,000) logged on during the first wave of the pandemic to view OVT videos.

To meet the increased demand for remote learning during this time, surgeon-educators and the AAOS staff also dedicated their focus to increase the online reach of video-based education. The educators and staff achieved this by converting videos and recorded lectures from prior AAOS Orthopaedic Learning Center Courses into online digital resources, many of which had been sold out and at capacity in prior years. In addition, over 10 well-known institutions decided to share their departmental educational efforts and orthopaedic grand rounds lectures by hosting new “institutional channels” on OVT. With the addition of industry, practice management, and other focused content channels, online learning increased, both in scope and volume to cover all aspects of continuing education for orthopaedic surgeons.

In addition to the online viewership, the OVT at the AAOS Annual Meeting continues to be a highlight each year. This year, in San Diego, we presented awards to the winners from both 2020 and 2021 meetings due to the cancellation of last year’s event. Video monitors showcased the award-winning videos in the longstanding OVT Plus surgical technique video collection, as well as those receiving honorable mention, all of which were widely viewed by meeting attendees. This esteemed recognition was given to a few who were identified by their peers as having programs that are exceptional in quality and content. The award recipients were a diverse group representing topics in each subspecialty ranging from cement-in-cement revision arthroplasty technique to intercostal nerve transfers for brachial plexopathy, each with their unique and helpful perspectives for the orthopaedic surgeon.

OVT Plus (peer-reviewed for AAOS Annual Meeting and online CME) and OVT Now (peer-reviewed for online education) videos are submitted and viewed by surgeons on multiple continents. This accomplished several important goals: It vastly expanded the efforts of the AAOS to reach and engage a global audience and, in turn, allowed international surgeons to contribute to the advancement of surgical knowledge available to the AAOS membership via the annual meeting and online resource offerings. As a result, the OVT platform has created tremendous educational value and now provides a world-class digital platform where surgeons can share their work. 

We were proud to congratulate this year’s OVT award winners in San Diego last week in person on the podium. It is clear that the COVID pandemic forced a re-thinking of how surgeons learn, and the need for online digital education will continue to be a high priority in the post-pandemic era. We are honored to help lead the continued growth and evolution of the digital learning experience for the benefit of AAOS members.

Dr. Rubin has received consulting fees from DePuy Synthes andConvaTec. He has received financial support to attend ICJR Direct Anterior Hip Course. He receives royalties from SLACK, Inc and Johns Hopkins University Press, and is the chair of the AAOS Orthopaedic Video Theater Committee

Dr. Tanaka is the Chair of Multimedia, AAOS

All opinions published on Op-Med are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of Doximity or its editors. Op-Med is a safe space for free expression and diverse perspectives. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email

More from Op-Med