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Sim Week Edition Special 2020

In preparation for National Healthcare Simulation Week 2020, I want to take a look back to 2003. At the time, simulations had taken hold in the healthcare education field, and implementation was commonplace, but outcomes research  demonstrating effectiveness was inconsistent, scattered, and methodological rigor and focus varied. It was then when the AMEE organization invited our team  to address the question: What are the features and uses of high-fidelity medical simulations that lead to effective learning?

We reviewed, and synthesized the existing evidence beginning from 1969, and including nearly 700 articles from five literature databases The result was: “Features and uses of high-fidelity medical simulations that lead to effective learning: a BEME systematic review[MOU1] ,” published 15 years ago in early 2005.

For those not familiar with the Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME), it is an international group of individuals, universities, and professional organizations dedicated to the development of evidence-informed education in the medical and health professions.

What was novel about our study was that it transcended healthcare professions. We aimed at casting a large net across all specialties and disciplines to better identify common features and characteristics to improve effective learning – regardless of the simulation technology utilized.

These are the features found:

  1. Provide feedback during the learning experience
  2. Learners should repetitively practice skills on the simulator
  3. Integrate simulators into the overall curriculum
  4. If available, learners should practice with increasing levels of difficulty
  5. Adapt the simulator to complement multiple learning strategies
  6. Ensure the simulator provides for clinical variation
  7. Learning on the simulator should occur in a controlled environment
  8. Provide individualized (in addition to the team) learning on the simulator
  9. Clearly define outcomes and benchmarks for the learners to achieve using the simulator
  10. Ensure the simulator is a valid learning tool

It is an honor to know that the knowledge we shared 15 years ago is still applicable today and cited over 3,000 times, making this systemic review the most cited simulation reference. Yes, the technology has changed and includes full-body mannequins, tasks trainers, digital videos, standardized patients, hybrid models, and more recently, VR, and AR, but these ten principles are still relevant and serve as the necessary stepping stones to successful qualitative and quantitative medical education simulation research.

As we celebrate global simulation professionals like you, I salute you for pushing simulation-based healthcare  education  forward and for contributing to the body of knowledge with research.

During National Healthcare Simulation Week 2020, Monday, September 14th through Friday, September 18th every day at 12pm EST, Gordon Center for Simulation and Innovation in Medical Education will feature a series of Facebook Live sessions featuring Virtual Remote Learning, Trauma & Extrication, Telemedicine, Patient Safety, and Advanced Stroke Life Support (ASLS®) . View the full agenda here.

Warm regards,

Barry Issenberg, MD
Barry Issenberg, MD

Director, Gordon Center for Simulation and Innovation in Medical Education
Professor, Medicine and Michael S. Gordon Chair of Medical Education
Professor, Nursing and Health Studies
Senior Associate Dean for Research in Medical Education
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine