January 3, 2022By Lance Baily

HealthySimulation.com Announces Partnership with New Affiliate, ASPE

HealthySimulation.com is constantly seeking to establish new media partnerships to showcase the work of various organizations and associations across the globe. The goal is also to increase the utilization of their services to the greater healthcare simulation community. Most recently, HealthySimulation has entered into a media partnership with the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) to promote best practices in the application of standardized patient (SP) methodology for education, assessment, and research.

Additionally, this particular media partnership serves as a way to foster the dissemination of research and scholarship in the field of SP methodology. Further, both HealthySimulation.com and ASPE hope to use this partnership as a way to work together to advance the professional knowledge and skills of its members and affiliates. This is made possible as HealthySimulation.com is the world’s leading healthcare simulation resource website with daily news, CE webinars & courses, product demos, job listings, conference recaps, research highlights, helpful guides, and more! Those interested in learning more about establishing should email lance@healthysimulation.com.

“HealthySimulation.com is thrilled to become a media partner with the Association of Standardized Patient Educators to better share the organization’s amazing SP resources,” said HealthySimulation.com Founder and CEO Lance Baily. “We have seen the demand for Simulated Patient actors to represent patient cases has skyrocketed globally since COVID19 started, and so this partnership with ASPE will be empowered HealthySimulation.com readers to stay informed with the latest research, resources, and networking opportunities for all things “Standardized Patient”. We encourage everyone in healthcare simulation to learn more about ASPE today!”

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In 1963 a neurologist by the name of Howard Barrows discovered that a layperson could be trained to simulate illness and give feedback to medical students about their history and communication skills. He called this person a simulated patient and defined it as “a person who has been carefully coached to simulate an actual patient so accurately that the simulation cannot be detected by a skilled clinician.

In performing the simulation, the SP presents the gestalt of the patient being simulated; not just the history, but the body language, the physical findings, and the emotional and personality characteristics as well.” Gradually, the use of the simulated patient began to grow in medical education. Educators found that simulated patients offered not only a variety of teaching opportunities for students but also opportunities for testing student performance. Out of this testing, the environment grew the term “standardized patient” or “SP.”

As simulated/standardized patient methodology grew, educators felt a need to develop an organization that could foster the growth of the profession that was creating and supporting this new methodology. Thus, in 2001, the Association of Standardized Patient Educators was formed. Since that time, our membership has grown along with the concept of standardized patients. Its use has expanded into many fields including dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, and allied health professions.

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Over the last two decades, three simulation modalities have become intertwined – scenarios may now include SPs, task trainers, and/or manikins; commonly known as “hybrid” simulations. In October of 2021, the membership voted to approve an amendment to the Association’s Bylaws, adding a ‘doing business as’ or ‘DBA’ as the Association of SP Educators. This amendment was put forth to be more inclusive of the term “Standardized” or “Simulated” and Patient” or “Participant.”

In 2017 ASPE’s Standards of Best Practice updated the definition of SP: The terms standardized patient and simulated patient (SP) are often used interchangeably and refer to a person trained to portray a patient in realistic and repeatable ways. SPs interact with learners in experiential education and assessment contexts. Learners, depending on the context, are variously described as students, trainees, participants, examinees, or candidates.

SPs can also provide feedback on learner performance from the perspective of the person they portray, which is unique to working with SPs. SP-based education has grown in size and scope of practice to include many different roles. For this reason, the term simulated participant is being used as a more inclusive term to refer to all human role players in any simulation context.

The context in which SPs are working determines the degree of repeatability or standardization (consistency and accuracy) of their behavior, both within an individual SP’s performance and between SPs portraying the same role. This behavior can be seen as part of a continuum.

On one end of the continuum, in high-stakes assessment, SPs may be trained to behave in a highly repeatable or standardized manner in order to give each learner a fair and equal chance and are often referred to as standardized patients. It is important to note that in this context, SPs are individuals whose behavior has been standardized. Informative educational settings, where standardization may not play an important part in the session design, carefully trained SPs are able to respond with more authenticity and flexibility to the needs of individual learners and are referred to as simulated patients.

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