The use of medical simulation has grown dramatically over the past decade, yet national data on the prevalence and growth of use among individual specialty training programs are lacking. The objectives of this study were to describe the current role of simulation training in emergency medicine (EM) residency programs and to quantify growth in use of the technology over the past 5 years.
In follow-up of a 2006 study (2003 data), the authors distributed an updated survey to program directors (PDs) of all 179 EM residency programs operating in early 2008 (140 Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education [ACGME]-approved allopathic programs and 39 American Osteopathic Association [AOA]-accredited osteopathic programs). The brief survey borrowed from the prior instrument, was edited and revised, and then distributed at a national PDs meeting. Subsequent follow-up was conducted by e-mail and telephone. The survey concentrated on technology-enhanced simulation modalities beyond routine static trainers or standardized patient-actors (high-fidelity mannequin simulation, part-task/procedural simulation, and dynamic screen-based simulation).
A total of 134 EM residency programs completed the updated survey, yielding an overall response rate of 75%. A total of 122 (91%) use some form of simulation in their residency training. One-hundred fourteen (85%) specifically use mannequin-simulators, compared to 33 (29%) in 2003 (p < 0.001). Mannequin-simulators are now owned by 58 (43%) of the programs, whereas only 9 (8%) had primary responsibility for such equipment in 2003 (p < 0.001). Fifty-eight (43%) of the programs reported that annual resident simulation use now averages more than 10 hours per year.
Use of medical simulation has grown significantly in EM residency programs in the past 5 years and is now widespread among training programs across the country.