How Does Simulation Make Healthcare Safer?

Is medical simulation effective? How does it reduce medical errors? Does it make healthcare safer or improve patient safety?

The medical sector continues to experience rapid changes because every day, there is a new research study, new findings, analysis, insights, and conclusions. The Healthcare industry worldwide faces complex data, fast-moving information, mind-blowing innovations in science, and head-spinning advances in medical procedures.

Medical education or healthcare practice can't remain static in an environment of constant change. Technological tools, software, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics continue to advance at a breakneck pace, providing opportunities for healthcare institutions to streamline clinical operations.

However, the rapid advancements also pose significant challenges for instructors, students, and practitioners to adopt and utilize these tools adequately, professionally, and safely. Statistical data available online shows that medical errors are one of the leading causes of harm to patients.

On the other hand, a research study published in the National Library of Medicine shows that risk-free, simulation-based medical education and training is a powerful tool that can reduce the risk of medical errors, improve patient safety, and enhance team training with procedural skills.

Healthcare institutions can use simulations in different settings, such as hospitals, clinics, outpatient facilities, simulation training centers, and medical schools to improve the quality of patient care and enhance emergency response skills.

surgeon holding paper with error written on it

Ensures Patient's Safety via Guided Experiences

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), patient harm due to medical errors or negligence is the 14

leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. A study by John Hopkins and highlighted by CNBC shows that over 250,000 people die in the United States from medical errors every year.


Bear in mind that other studies have even higher estimates. Medical negligence by health professionals is the third leading cause of death in the United States after cardiovascular conditions and cancer. According to the report "To Err is Human," an average of 98,000 people die in the U.S from preventable causes.

There are numerous methods and strategies to ensure patient safety. However, simulations have gained more popularity among health researchers, scientists, doctors, physicians, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, neurologists, and other health professionals in the U.S, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, and other  countries.  

Simulation replaces or amplifies real-patient scenarios with artificially contrived and guided experiences. The purpose is to evoke or replicate different aspects of the real world in an immersive and interactive manner, allowing medical students and health professionals to learn and practice efficiently.

Simulation as an educational strategy provides learners with an immersive and experiential environment. Thus, it enhances students' knowledge and skills, leading to improved patient safety. Educational institutions, hospitals, clinics, etc. use medical simulation in various forms, including:

  • Simulated and virtual patients
  • Interactive mannequin simulators
  • Screen-based simulations
  • Task trainers
  • Immersive VR simulations via headsets (HMDs)

Moreover, medical simulation can recreate scenarios rarely experienced by health professionals, allowing them to test their skills in challenging situations. The purpose is to examine their actions, replay, and repeat. So, simulation is a powerful learning tool for health professionals to achieve higher competence levels, improve communication and collaboration, and ensure safer care.

Simulation Improves System Performance

Simulation has a substantial impact on individual and team performance. However, the best thing about medical simulation is improving the system's performance. Research shows that medical errors are primarily system-related and have little to do with individual misconduct or negligence.

Therefore, improving the healthcare delivery system is crucial to reduce medical errors and avoid blaming individuals. So, system improvement can decrease medical error rates and improve overall healthcare quality and efficiency.

Medical professionals use simulation in three broad domains. First, doctors and nurses can use simulation techniques for practice and assessment of medical procedures.

Remember, this takes various forms, from simple bench models to highly advanced VR-based machines. Second, standardized or simulated patients are an excellent way to teach clinical skills and improve performance-based assessment.

Third, healthcare institutions can use simulation technologies, such as mannequins, VR-based headsets, and other tools to improve training, function, and response skills in tension-filled situations. All this increases efficiency, reduces errors, and improves patient safety in a health setting.

Final Words

Health institutions of all types focus more on minimizing medical-related errors to improve patient safety. A growing body of research evidence has proven the efficacy of medical simulations, particularly immersive VR-simulation technologies, in healthcare education and practice.

So, the widespread incorporation of medical simulation technology into training and clinical assessment programs has become even more critical in today's medical education and practice. Until Next Time!


Why is simulation important in healthcare?

There are many reasons why simulation is important in healthcare. First, simulation can help train healthcare professionals in a safe and controlled environment. This can help reduce errors and improve patient safety.

Second, simulation can help healthcare professionals learn new skills and procedures. This can help them be better prepared to care for patients.

Third, simulation can help healthcare professionals practice and refine their skills. This can help them provide better care to patients.


Can we use simulation in the medical industry?

Simulation is increasingly being used in the medical industry for various purposes, including training medical professionals, testing new treatments and procedures, and improving patient safety.

Simulation provides a realistic and controlled environment to learn and practice and can be invaluable in the medical industry.

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