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May 2015

Using Simulation to Improve Patient Safety: Dawn of a New Era

Author Affiliations
  • 1KidSIM Simulation Program, Department of Pediatrics, Alberta Children’s Hospital, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 2Section of Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(5):419-420. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.3817

Simulation, defined as “the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time,”1 is a powerful tool that has been adapted for use in health care. To date, the use of simulation in pediatrics has focused predominantly on its benefits as an educational modality, providing health care professionals the opportunity to acquire and master key skills and behaviors in a risk-free environment. In a recent systematic review, simulation-based education for pediatrics was found to be effective for promoting the acquisition of knowledge and key skills for a broad spectrum of clinical tasks.2 Unfortunately, the evidence supporting a positive effect of simulation-based education on real patient outcomes in the clinical environment is scarce. Despite this scarcity of evidence, the field of pediatric simulation has seen steady growth on a global scale, with the formation of societies and networks dedicated to promoting the use of simulation for advancing pediatric care. This growth begs the question of whether there are other ways of using simulation in health care to have a more direct effect on patient safety and the health outcomes of pediatric patients.

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