Does training with human patient simulation translate to improved patient safety and outcome?

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Purpose of review

In this review, we evaluate several articles in an attempt to qualify the effect of human patient simulation in anaesthesia on patient outcome. The recognition of medical error as a significant cause of patient morbidity and mortality has sparked an increased focus on improving healthcare quality and patient safety. Simulation in anaesthesia is a potential tool to help achieve this goal by allowing anaesthesia providers to learn, practice and perfect their craft without a potential harm to patients. It has gained growing traction in the field and is recently a required element in the American Board of Anesthesiology's Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesia programme.

Recent findings

Very few studies have evaluated the effect of simulation on patient outcome. To date, one study has demonstrated improved individual clinical performance in anaesthesia after simulation training. Research suggests that simulation-based team training can reduce patient mortality and improve the quality of care as measured by surgical quality improvement measures. Simulation may improve healthcare systems by serving as a tool to detect latent error and drive process improvement.


Despite the adoption of simulation, further study is needed to better qualify its effect on patient safety and outcome.

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