Virtual Simulation’s Application to Assess Emergency Medicine Learners in the Post-COVID Setting: A Literature Review
Learning Objective: This review aims to provide a brief history of virtual simulation and how it is currently being applied as a clinical assessment tool in emergency medicine (EM) training.
Background: Simulation has played a vital role in training generations of medical professionals. In response to the COVID pandemic, virtual simulation (VS) has provided educational advantages to traditional in-person simulation. However, there is no current literature review on VS’s medical education application in the post-COVID pandemic setting.
Objective: This review aims to provide a brief history of VS and how it is currently being applied as a clinical assessment tool in emergency medicine (EM) training.
Method: We conducted an electronic database search of SCOPUS in November 2021 using the following terms: “virtual simulation,” “simulation history,” “virtual reality,” “online simulation,” “augmented reality,” “serious game,” “computer-based simulation,” “simulation,” “health care,” “emergency medicine,” “education,” and “assessment.” Returned articles were filtered based on the following: English language, their relevance/inclusion of a VS method, and EM learners as the population under investigation.
Results: 1,104 articles were identified, of which 19 addressed VS’s use in assessing EM education (1 article in the post-COVID setting). Historically, VS was used to assess emergency responders’ preparedness to major casualty events due to its ability to generate fictitious environments. In 2021, VS was deemed a feasible assessment tool of healthcare students’ clinical competency. More specifically, VS has been shown to be a feasible alternative to traditional oral examination for assessing both EM residents and pediatric EM resuscitation respectively.
Conclusion: VS has been shown to be as effective as traditional simulation methods in assessing EM learners. As the COVID pandemic continues, VS has and will continue to serve as an educational substitute to in-person simulation. We believe the use of VS will continue to grow as viable, standardized, and cost-effective means of assessing EM students’ knowledge and clinical competency.