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Design Considerations for Healthcare Simulation Facilities

Seropian, Michael MD, FRCPC; Lavey, Robert AIA, LEED AP

Simulation in Healthcare: The Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare: December 2010 - Volume 5 - Issue 6 - pp 338-345
doi: 10.1097/SIH.0b013e3181ec8f60
Special Article

The number of simulation facilities across the United States and internationally is growing rapidly. The capital investment required can be substantive regardless of size. This article focuses on ways to optimize expenditures and maximize utility. Several key factors will play decisive roles in the successful launch of a new simulation facility. Mission/vision, budget, functional need, and space are partners in determining the final design of the simulation facility. Ideally, the budget is based on the functional requirements and desired capacity; but when this is not the case, of course, the owner must prioritize the needs of the new center. The type of space allocated for the facility is also critical and can seriously impact the budget because renovating a space that is fitted for another purpose versus constructing the center in an open shell space can add considerable cost. A well-balanced design team led by a diligent and knowledgeable project manager who can keep the team focused is integral to the success of designing and constructing a new facility. Users should inform themselves about each of the issues that a design team may consider to ensure that the issues are resolved in a way that meets the needs and vision of the program(s). A simulation facility, such as any education facility, should be built around the concepts of the overall mission, vision, and values of the institution(s) and stakeholder(s). For any new educational facility to be a success, the thoughts, ideas, and creativity of the owner, users, and stakeholders must find its way into the ultimate built environment. The experience base of simulation facility design is fragmented and not standardized. Therefore, we live at a time where the risk of ineffective design is higher than one would like given the costs involved. It behooves the owner to set parameters with the planning and design team that they want a balanced, controlled, collaborative, and inclusive design process.

From the Departments of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics (M.S.), Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; and Perkins + Will (R.L.), Los Angeles, CA.

Dr. Seropian discloses that he is a consultant and has equity interest in Simhealth Consulting Services, LLC, a company that consults on simulation center design. Mr. Lavey discloses that he is an employee of the architectural firm Perkins & Will. Both state that this work was not done at the behest of or as paid work for either of these companies.

Reprints: Michael Seropian, MD, FRCPC, Departments of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics, Oregon Health & Science University, Mail Code: BTE-2,3181 Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239 (e-mail:

© 2010 Society for Simulation in Healthcare