Medical Simulation: The New Tool for Training and Skill Assessment

Medical simulation is a new method to facilitate skill training and assessment. Simulation has achieved a high degree of sophistication in aviation and other fields. However, the complexity of health care, the numerous stakeholders, and the lack of central control of medical education have been barriers to the development and broad implementation of medical simulation. Acceptance by the medical community is growing, with the publication of scientific validation studies, the development of economic models and funding, and the integration of simulation into existing curricula and training programs. The major forces for implementing simulation will most likely come from the medical device industry and from institutions with mandates to improve the quality of health care and enhance patient safety. Certification boards are expected to increase their utilization of simulation technology to objectively assess proficiency of skills relevant to physicians and the health care system. Medical simulation has made the transition from an experimental technology to the clinical world, and the next five to 10 years may be viewed as the golden age of medical simulation.