Article Text

Download PDFPDF
ASPiH Conference 2019 keynote paper. Quality improvement through simulation: a missed opportunity?
  1. Paul O’Connor
  1. Irish Centre for Applied Patient Safety and Simulation and the Discipline of General Practice, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Paul O’Connor, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland; paul.oconnor{at}


As the use of simulation has become more established in the delivery of healthcare education and training, there has been a corresponding increase in healthcare simulation research. Simulation-based research can be divided into research about simulation (answers research questions in which the focus is on simulation itself) and research through simulation (simulation as a method/tool for research). However, there are barriers, particularly for smaller less well-resourced simulation centres, that may prohibit participation in research. Therefore, it is suggested that quality improvement (QI) through simulation may be a pragmatic way in which simulation centres of all sizes can contribute to improving patient care beyond education and training. QI is defined as systematic, data-guided activities designed to bring about immediate, positive changes in the delivery of healthcare. Although not the case in healthcare, other industries routinely used simulation to support QI. For example, in aviation simulation is used to inform the design of the working environment, the appropriate use of technology, to exercise emergency procedures and to ‘re-fly’ flights following an adverse event as part of the mishap investigation. Integrating simulation within healthcare QI can support the development of novel interventions as well helping to address heretofore intractable issues.

  • quality Improvement
  • simulation
  • patient safety

Statistics from


  • Contributors I am the only contributor to this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.