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White Paper on Simulation: ASA Proposes Approval of Anesthesiology Simulation Programs

Michael A. Olympio, M.D., Chair
Workgroup on Simulation Education 

The White Paper on Simulation is the capstone document of the 21-member Workgroup on Simulation Education, chaired by Michael A. Olympio, M.D. The white paper’s context is member interest in simulation plus the need to create processes for determining quality simulation-based continuing medical education experiences. The document is available on the ASA Web site and includes a “Comments” section for feedback. All are encouraged to access the white paper and respond with comments. An executive summary of the white paper appears on the right.

Through the ASA Continuing Medical Education (CME) Strategy Committee, the Section on Education and Research, and the Committee on Outreach Education, a Workgroup on Simulation Education was convened to create a mechanism to foster ASA members’ access to high-quality simulation-based CME. This document summarizes the workgroup’s deliberations over the last 14 months; it describes a process by which simulation programs can be identified, evaluated and approved for this purpose; and, it will inform ASA leadership as the first step toward the establishment of the infrastructure and processes necessary to accomplish this goal.

This effort is timely, given the increasing emphasis on the use of simulation in medical education by the national accreditation bodies and other medical societies. In a recent poll of ASA members, conducted by the workgroup, 80 percent of 1,350 respondents indicated they were interested in simulation-based CME.

The workgroup recommends that ASA create a standing Committee on Simulation Education that would establish criteria for simulation program approval and then review and approve interested programs. The workgroup identified nine criteria that it believes should form the basis of the approval process. These criteria require the program to establish a mission statement, describe the educational offerings and curriculum, ensure instructor competency, document program leadership, offer CME credit, assess the effectiveness of their courses, and have adequate equipment, facilities, personnel and an established business plan.

To facilitate ongoing discussion, the document defines key terms (e.g., Simulation, Simulation Course and Program, Program and Course Director, and Instructor). The workgroup is prepared to provide ASA leadership with additional information as the process proceeds.