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Commentary: PATIENT SAFETY FORUM |

As Accessible as a Book on a Library ShelfRoutine Simulation in Modern Health Care: The Imperative of Routine Simulation in Modern Health Care

James A. Gordon, MD, MPA
Author and Funding Information

From the MGH Learning Laboratory and the Division of Medical Simulation, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital; the Gilbert Program in Medical Simulation, Harvard Medical School; and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) Boston, MA.

Correspondence to: James A. Gordon, MD, MPA, Massachusetts General Hospital, Zero Emerson Place, Ste 3B, Boston, MA 02114; e-mail: jgordon3@partners.org


For editorial comment see page 5

Funding/Support: Dr Gordon is supported by contract W81XWH-09-2-001 under a cooperative agreement issued by the US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity. Work to establish the Massachusetts General Hospital Simulation Community of Practice (www.massgeneral.org/learninglab) was supported by a grant from the Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions (CRICO/RMF).

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2012;141(1):12-16. doi:10.1378/chest.11-0571
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Technology-enhanced patient simulation has emerged as an important new modality for teaching and learning in medicine. In particular, immersive simulation platforms that replicate the clinical environment promise to revolutionize medical education by enabling an enhanced level of safety, standardization, and efficiency across health-care training. Such an experiential approach seems unique in reliably catalyzing a level of emotional engagement that fosters immediate and indelible learning and allows for increasingly reliable levels of performance evaluation—all in a completely risk-free environment. As such, medical simulation is poised to emerge as a critical component of training and certification throughout health care, promising to fundamentally enhance quality and safety across disciplines. To encourage routine simulation-based practice as part of its core quality and safety mission, Massachusetts General Hospital now incorporates simulation resources within its historic medical library (est. 1847), located at the center of the campus. In this new model, learners go to the library not only to read about a patient’s illness, but also to take care of their “patient.” Such an approach redefines and advances the central role of the library on the campus and ensures that simulation-based practice is centrally available as part of everyday hospital operations. This article describes the reasons for identifying simulation as an institutional priority leading up to the Massachusetts General Hospital Bicentennial Celebration (1811-2011) and for creating a simulation-based learning laboratory within a hospital library.

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