The COVID-19 pandemic forced healthcare institutions to rapidly adapt practices for patient care, staff safety, and resource management. We evaluated contributions of the simulation center in a freestanding children's hospital during the early stages of the pandemic.
We reviewed our simulation center's activity for education-based and system-focused simulation for 2 consecutive academic years (AY19: 2018–2019 and AY20: 2019–2020). We used statistical control charts and χ2 analyses to assess the impact of the pandemic on simulation activity as well as outputs of system-focused simulation during the first wave of the pandemic (March–June 2020) using the system failure mode taxonomy and required level of resolution.
A total of 1983 event counts were reported. Total counts were similar between years (994 in AY19 and 989 in AY20). System-focused simulation was more prevalent in AY20 compared with AY19 (8% vs. 2% of total simulation activity, P < 0.001), mainly driven by COVID-19–related simulation events. COVID-19–related simulation occurred across the institution, identified system failure modes in all categories except culture, and was more likely to identify macro-level issues than non–COVID-19–related simulation (64% vs. 44%, P = 0.027).
Our simulation center pivoted to deliver substantial system-focused simulation across the hospital during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our experience suggests that simulation centers are essential resources in achieving safe and effective hospital-wide improvement.