June 9, 2023By Jill Sanko

The Distance Simulation Summit – Now an Annual Event

Distance healthcare simulation is not an entirely new idea. This tactic of clinical simulation delivery has been around for several years, but COVID really propelled the concept into the spotlight. Out of the necessity to continue to educate healthcare students using the well-established simulation-based educational (SBE) approaches well-known in the industry, invention was necessary to foster quality in a distant version of SBE. This included the development of work products to establish consistent and quality teaching and learning. This HealthySimulation.com article by Dr. Jill Sanko will explore distance healthcare simulation.

The efforts of a few fast moving and forward thinking simulationionists resulted in the generation of guidelines, research, and support for educators, some of whom were forced to do something they had not engaged in previously. In many ways COVID mirrored what many simulationists were doing in the early 2000’s across the healthcare simulation spectrum, creating as they went along and learning by trial and error.

Because hindsight is a great teacher, leaders were quick to recognize that the field had to move quickly to establish ways to conduct distance simulation to ensure quality learning and sound education occurred. In 2022 there was publication of distance simulation educator guidelines aimed at providing evidence-based guidance on delivery of simulation-based education across a physical distance. Another important outgrowth was the establishment of groups and organizations dedicated to advancement of healthcare distance simulation.

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In 2020 the Distance Simulation Collaboration emerged as the first organization solely dedicated to distance healthcare simulation and in 2022 an affinity group (The Distance Simulation AG) of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare was formed. The swift work of groups of individuals has been important in the evolution of distance simulation and to a larger extent healthcare simulation. The work in particular championed by the Distance Simulation Collaboration has been most noteworthy. This organization has been quite prolific in reportive work outputs. The Distance Simulation Collaboration has published papers, has several working groups concurrently carrying out important work, and now has established an annual summit.

The annual summit which began in 2020 brings together like minded individuals from novice through expert to discuss and carry out work to advance the science of distance healthcare simulation education. While the summit has grown and evolved, the mission remains unchanged; “to focus on scholarship to date and furthering the specific projects and ideas developed during the first three summits by bringing interested simulation practitioners from all levels of experience to generate actionable plans”.

In October of 2022 the 3rd Annual Healthcare Distance Simulation Summit was held. This day-long event took place virtually and brought together over 50 experts from across the globe. The focus of this 3rd meeting was to continue the momentum of the efforts underway. One strategy to continue the forward trajectory of the work was to invite more junior scholars to participate in the meeting. The goal in this intentional invitation was to broaden the impact of the group while grooming the next generation of leaders in the setting of providing a supportive professional development opportunity.

The meeting kicked off with a moderated panel discussion around achievements to date and the current state of the science. There were also opportunities for audience members to ask questions of the panelists. Following this, attendees were situated into one of five goal oriented tracks. During registration to the meeting attendees were asked to identify an area of interest which aligns with the working groups that form the summit tracks. The tracks include: Assessment and Evaluation, Human Factors, Pictogram, and Psychological safety. Each track has a designated track leader who fosters continuity of the work product for each track and follows the work throughout their term.

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This model of goal oriented groups has been successful in the production of several publications and generation of research findings. To date, there have been four publications with two in peer-reviewed journals and two in summit proceedings including the 2021 report and the 2022 report. The peer reviewed articles include dissemination of a consensus study focused on research directions in distance simulation and a call for action to create a blueprint for distance simulation. The work of the groups is ongoing and will continue.

At the 2023 Simulation Research Summit held just prior to IMSH 2023 a group from the distance simulation summit working group presented their findings from several systematic review efforts which are underway. Findings of these labors are in the process of being written up for publication in a special edition of the Simulation in Healthcare Journal.

The 4th annual Healthcare Distance Simulation Summit planning is well underway and will occur in mid October. The focus of this summit will be on scholarship to date and furthering the projects underway, but new topics will include generative AI. As is the practice, ideas developed during the first three summits will continue to be developed through the collaborative model. While the goal is to broaden the summit’s reach, with the focus to maintain the work group mentality, this year’s summit will be by invitation only again. Interested persons however are encouraged to reach out through the link below.

Learn more about the Healthcare Distance Simulation Summit

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