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Simulation-Based Team Training in Healthcare

Eppich, Walter MD, MEd; Howard, Valerie EdD, RN; Vozenilek, John MD; Curran, Ian BSc, AKC, MBBS, FRCA, PG Dip Med Ed (Hons), FFPMR

Simulation in Healthcare: The Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare: August 2011 - Volume 6 - Issue 7 - p S14-S19
doi: 10.1097/SIH.0b013e318229f550
Research Summit Article

Introduction: Simulation-based team training (SBTT) in healthcare is gaining acceptance. Guidelines for appropriate use of SBTT exist, but the evidence base remains limited. Insights from other academic disciplines with sophisticated models of team working may point to opportunities to build on current frameworks applied to team training in healthcare. The purpose of this consensus statement is threefold: (1) to highlight current best practices in designing SBTT in healthcare and to identify gaps in current implementation; (2) to explore validated concepts and principles from relevant academic disciplines and industries; and (3) to identify potential high-yield areas for future research and development.

Methods: We performed a selective review and critical synthesis of literature in healthcare simulation related to team learning as well as from other relevant disciplines such as psychology, business, and organizational behavior. We discuss appropriate use of SBTT and identify gaps in the literature.

Results: Healthcare educators should apply rigorous curriculum development processes and generate learning opportunities that address the interrelated conceptual levels of team working by addressing learning needs at the level of the individual, the team, the organization, and the healthcare system. The interplay between these conceptual levels and their relative importance to team-based learning should be explored and described. Instructional design factors and contextual features that impact the effect of SBTT should be studied. Further development of validated assessment tools of team performance relevant to professional practice is a high priority and is essential to provide formative, summative, and diagnostic feedback and evaluation of SBTT. Standardized reporting of curriculum design and debriefing approaches, although difficult, would help move the field forward by allowing educators to characterize effective SBTT instruction.

Conclusions: Much work is needed to establish a robust and defensible evidence base for SBTT. The complexity and expense of SBTT require that specific programs or interventions are appropriately designed, implemented, and evaluated. The healthcare sector needs to understand how team performance can be optimized through appropriate training methods. The specific role of simulation in team training needs to be more clearly articulated, and the training conditions that make SBTT in healthcare effective need to be better characterized.

From Children's Memorial Hospital (W.E.), Chicago, IL; Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (W.E., J.V.), Chicago, IL; Robert Morris University School of Nursing and Health Sciences (V.H.), Moon Township, PA; London Deanery & St. Bartholomew's Hospital and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (I.C.), Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom.

Dr. Eppich receives grant funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Reprints: Walter Eppich, MD, MEd, Children's Memorial Hospital, 2300 Children's Plaza Box 62, Chicago, IL 60614(e-mail:

© 2011 Society for Simulation in Healthcare