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Simul Healthc. 2011 Aug;6 Suppl:S42-7. doi: 10.1097/SIH.0b013e318222fde9.

Evaluating the impact of simulation on translational patient outcomes.

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  • 1Center for Education in Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 303 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.



A long and rich research legacy shows that under the right conditions, simulation-based medical education (SBME) is a powerful intervention to increase medical learner competence. SBME translational science demonstrates that results achieved in the educational laboratory (T1) transfer to improved downstream patient care practices (T2) and improved patient and public health (T3).


This is a qualitative synthesis of SBME translational science research (TSR) that employs a critical review approach to literature aggregation.


Evidence from SBME and health services research programs that are thematic, sustained, and cumulative shows that measured outcomes can be achieved at T1, T2, and T3 levels. There is also evidence that SBME TSR can yield a favorable return on financial investment and contributes to long-term retention of acquired clinical skills. The review identifies best practices in SBME TSR, presents challenges and critical gaps in the field, and sets forth a TSR agenda for SBME.


Rigorous SBME TSR can contribute to better patient care and improved patient safety. Consensus conference outcomes and recommendations should be presented and used judiciously.

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