Saturday, September 7, 2013

High-Fidelity Human Patient Simulators Not Needed: Links to Free Simulators

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Many academic institutions have or are in the process of implementing high-fidelity human patient simulators to augment didactic teachings. Some centers are even using these simulator labs to decrease/reduce the number of hands-on clinical hours.
Personally, I believe these very high cost simulator labs are a scam and more time should actually be focused at bedside with a dedicated clinical preceptor.

Note- my views are from participating in various curriculum's from the schools with very little resources to highly funded skills labs.

My argument against high-fidelity human patient simulators

1.       Cost- the institution has to invest in space, building a simulation lab, lab equipment overhead cost (e.g. electricity, heating & cooling), and staffing. I believe these funds can be better allocated.

2.        No proof- There is little evidence indicating high fidelity simulator labs provide additional benefits versus cheaper methods of simulation (e.g. role playing, actors, etc). Additionally studies supporting the high fidelity labs have been performed by the labs themselves, so I believe there is some biases here.

3.       Hours- many simulator labs you may only visit a few times a semester. When I was attending graduate school we only went to the simulator lab twice a semester. Conversely, in paramedic school we practiced and went over patient assessment skills in every class. Additionally, with simple simulators I can use these anywhere at any time.

4.       Groups- Usually, the simulation lab is a large group exercise with very little individualized hands on experience.

5.       Scenarios- Usually during your scheduled time your group only participates in one scenario. Conversely, with other simulators you can individually go over multiple scenarios in the same amount of time.

Links to Free Simulators to augment your education (Click Hyperlinks)

1.       Draeger Ventilator & Anesthesia Delivery System Simulators:

2.       Hamilton Medical Ventilators. Note this is just a link to their home page, you need to select a specific product to access the simulator:

4.       Robert Chatburn’s Ventilator simulators. My favorite, true mathematical models great for teaching and understanding modes & the variables which influence mechanical ventilation:'s_Simulators