Changes in medical practice that limit instruction time and patient
availability, the expanding options for diagnosis and management, and advances
in technology are contributing to greater use of simulation technology in
medical education. Four areas of high-technology simulations currently being
used are laparoscopic techniques, which provide surgeons with an opportunity
to enhance their motor skills without risk to patients; a cardiovascular disease
simulator, which can be used to simulate cardiac conditions; multimedia computer
systems, which includes patient-centered, case-based programs that constitute
a generalist curriculum in cardiology; and anesthesia simulators, which have
controlled responses that vary according to numerous possible scenarios. Some
benefits of simulation technology include improvements in certain surgical
technical skills, in cardiovascular examination skills, and in acquisition
and retention of knowledge compared with traditional lectures. These systems
help to address the problem of poor skills training and proficiency and may
provide a method for physicians to become self-directed lifelong learners.
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