August 19, 2021By Lance Baily

How to Improve Clinical Simulation Cost Savings

While the adoption of healthcare simulation across simulation centers and programs has become more widespread, the technologies and task trainers can come at a hefty price. This is why institutions and facilities must learn how to navigate the cost savings of clinical simulation. Finding new ways to save costs can help open doors to more medical simulation possibilities across healthcare training. To stay within budgetary limitations and maximize the return on investment, has put together this list of informative articles that share ways to improve clinical cost savings.

“Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice”: Written by Scott B. Crawford, Lance W. Bailey and Stormy M. Monks, this practical guide helps prepare professionals for the broad scope of simulation in healthcare. This book begins with an introduction to healthcare simulation, including personnel, curriculum and physical space. Subsequent chapters address eight knowledge/skill domains that are key to the essential aspects of an HSTS. To conclude, best practices and innovations are provided, and the benefits of developing a collaborative relationship with industry stakeholders are discussed.

“Issues of cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness for simulation in health professions education”: This article from explains how clinical simulation can be costly, and how evaluations that yield information about the return on investment are scarce. Ultimately, this article provides an overview of the costs and consequences associated with simulation in healthcare education. According to the article, measures of cost and value in simulation are required to provide information about the viability and sustainability of simulation education, enabling simulation education in healthcare to demonstrate its worth.

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“Increasing Healthcare Value Through Simulation: Cost Savings from Reductions in Cast Saw Injuries After Simulation-based Education of Orthopedic Trainees”: From the American Academy of Pediatrics, this article explains how there is limited information regarding the cost-effectiveness of simulation curricula, particularly for musculoskeletal conditions. To help change this, the authors sought to estimate the cost effectiveness of simulation training aimed at reducing cast saw injury by orthopedic surgery residents. In conclusion, their results supported the further development and investment in simulation-based training as a cost-effective means of improving patient safety and clinical outcomes. During their research, ​​the total potential savings for a 2.5-year period post-simulation was $488,002.60, representing a 40 to 1 theoretical return on investment.

“A targeted systematic review of cost analyses for implementation of simulation-based education in healthcare”: This article discusses how simulation education and research programs have mostly focused on the impact on clinical knowledge and improvement of technical skills, rather than on cost. Thus, the authors chose to perform a systematic review of the literature on the costs of simulation-based education in general, and in neonatal resuscitation as a particular focus. They found that in order to optimize return on investments in training, assessing resource requirements, associated costs and subsequent outcomes, educators can inform stakeholders about the potential sustainability of SBE programs.

“Cost Considerations in Using Simulations for Medical Training”: According to authors J.D. Fletcher, Ph.D. and Alexander P. Wind, MS†, assessment of costs and simulation effectiveness can be combined with measures of transfer, using techniques such as iso-performance analysis to identify ways of minimizing costs without reducing performance effectiveness or maximizing performance without increasing costs. In sum, economic analysis must be considered in training assessments if training budgets are to compete successfully with other requirements for funding.

“Communicating Value in Simulation: Cost — Benefit Analysis and Return on Investment”: An article published in Academic Emergency Medicine, this article serves as a primer to help clinicians and simulation experts understand how economic evaluations can help to justify investments in simulation training. In addition, the article describes a research agenda to help define and identify applications of simulation-based training, and programs that yield the most effective outcomes to help justify resource utilization to improve patient care.

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“Financing And Funding A Simulation Center”: Written by Jared M. Senvisky, Ryan T. McKenna and Yasuharu Okuda, this article explains how simulation centers are faced with the challenge of financial sustainability. Funding simulation centers and simulation-based training programs can be costly. Building and maintaining them may require substantial long-term investment from affiliated organizations. According to the article, the authors found that being able to clearly articulate the costs, as well as the clinical and economic benefits of a simulation-based training program, will provide the organization with data needed to support their decision to invest in simulation-based training.

“Balancing the Budget in the Simulation Centre”: Written by Michael Eliadis, BA, MPM (Cert), MAEd, PMP; and Margaret Verkuyl, MN, NP: PHC; this article highlights that innovation is needed to balance educational needs and simulation center budgets. Additionally, cost savings and revenue-generating ideas are needed to keep simulation centers operating. Simulation center cost savings can be found regarding supplies, equipment and personnel. This article shares several innovations designed by a simulation center to decrease operating costs in the areas of supplies and equipment, and to increase revenues related to space utilization.

“Simulation center finances: Calculating fees and costs”: Published by Wolters Kluwer, this article notes that free-standing simulation centers cost an estimated $200,000 to $1.6 million for startup and at least $15,000 for annual maintenance (Tuoriniemi & Schott-Baer, 2008). This cost can leave organizations looking for creative ways to balance their budgets. According to the article, many simulation centers are creating fee schedules to offset some of the operational costs of running their simulation programs, in order to remain operationally viable and generate revenue. To identify an approximate cost per scenario at an organization, the authors created a breakdown of charges for each scenario.

“Comparing the cost-effectiveness of simulation modalities: A case study of peripheral intravenous catheterization training”: Written by Wanrudee Isaranuwatchai, Ryan Brydges, Heather Carnahan and David Backstein, this article shares how cost-effectiveness is a critical factor of clinical simulation training. The authors explain that research comparing simulation training in terms of educational and cost-effectiveness will lead to better-informed curricular decisions. They introduce how a cost-effectiveness analysis may be applied to simulation training; a method that medical educators may use to make investment decisions (e.g. purchasing cost-effective and educationally-sound simulators).

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