Simulation-Based Training Within Selected Allied Health Professions An Evidence-Based Systematic Review

Albert Heuer, Jared Bienstock, Yingting Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: This systematic review (SR) describes how simulation-based training (SBT) is utilized by selected allied health professions (AHPs). DATA SOURCES: PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane CENTRAL, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were searched from 2010 to 2020. REVIEW METHODS: Standard SR methodology was utilized according to PRISMA guidelines. Eligibility criteria included English studies conducted in the United States or Canada. Study designs were somewhat heterogeneous and included quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods projects. Populations included selected AHPs that function primarily in an acute care setting, including radiology technologists, respiratory therapists, medical laboratory technologists, perfusionists, radiation therapists, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. RESULTS: 584 articles were initially identified and reviewed, 33 of which met inclusion criteria. Of them, the most common AHPs documented in the literature as using SBT appeared to be paramedics and emergency medical technicians (22 studies) as well as respiratory therapists (6 studies). Almost half of the studies were conducted in a stationary or mobile simulation lab. Most commonly, the simulations involved the use of manikins and simulated patients and could be classified as high-fidelity. Most of the impact of SBT in the AHPs appears to be on either short-term objective measures, such as post-SBT skill improvement, or subjective metrics like enhanced participant confidence. The more sustained impact such as that on intermediate and long-term skill retention in such disciplines seems uncommon, and those related to enhanced patient outcomes were not found. CONCLUSIONS: It appears that SBT can be effectively utilized to enhance subjective measures such as participant confidence, as well as short-term skill enhancement within selected AHPs. However, their impact on more substantive measures such as sustained skill enhancement and patient outcomes remains unclear. In addition, the use of SBT varies greatly throughout allied health practice, and the opportunities for expanded use are significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Allied Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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