Research into adverse events in hospitalized patients suggests that a significant number are preventable. The purpose of this randomized, controlled study was to determine if simulation-based debriefing improved performance of practicing anaesthetists managing high-fidelity simulation scenarios.


The anaesthetists were randomly allocated to Group A: simulation debriefing; Group B: home study; and Group C: no intervention and secondary randomization to one of two scenarios. Six to nine months later, subjects returned to manage the alternate scenario. Facilitators blinded to study group allocation completed the performance checklists (dichotomously scored checklist, DSC) and Global Rating Scale of Performance (GRS). Two non-expert raters were trained, and assessed all videotaped performances.


Interim analysis indicated no difference between Groups B and C which were merged into one group. Seventy-four subjects were recruited, with 58 complete data sets available. There was no significant effect of group on pre-test scores. A significant improvement was seen between pre- and post-tests on the DSC in debriefed subjects (pre-test 66.8%, post-test 70.3%; F(1,57)=4.18, P=0.046). Both groups showed significant improvement in the GRS over time (F(1,57)=5.94, P=0.018), but no significant difference between the groups.


We found a modest improvement in performance on a DSC in the debriefed group and overall improvement in both control and debriefed groups using a GRS. Whether this improvement translates into clinical practice has yet to be determined.