Get ready for SPSIM 2022

SPSIM is a biennial international conference on the use of Standardized Patients and Simulation in undergraduate and postgraduate education of health professionals.

The next SPSIM conference will be held from 31 August to 2 September 2022 by the University of Health Sciences Lausanne (HESAV). It will take place at the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV).

The slogan of SPSIM 2022 is: «Back to the future – From digital revolution to evolution».

This year’s opening session will welcome a guest of honor: Mr Frédéric Borloz, Head of Education and Professional Training Departments and Counsil Member of Vaud canton (Chef du Département de l’enseignement et de la formation professionnelle du canton de Vaud).

Online registration is now open

Conference Topics

The pandemic challenged us all and our educational programs. The analogue nature of SP programs and simulation-based education meant they were directly impacted by measures like physical distancing and (self-) isolation of at-risk persons. Meanwhile handlers of digital solutions in simulation had fairly little time to prepare for high demand of their services.

SPSIM 2022 acknowledges the innovative capacities of healthcare education institutions. From what was achieved during the pandemic, we want to distil lessons for the future beyond the current health crisis.

Doing teleconferences instead of face-to-face meetings was obvious. We want scientists to share insights beyond this: how they fundamentally reconceptualized simulation-based education, what they questioned which was before unchallenged, how they failed and how they prevailed, and what their lessons from this are for our future in simulation.

The conferences main topics:

Standardized Patients in exceptional circumstances: This session focuses on SP and their programs in a digital world, pandemic workarounds that are here to stay and how SP are not tools to use but experts to employ.

Virtual reality is real: Do virtual, augmented and extended reality have a place in routine simulation-based education? This session explores how VR/AR/ER have advanced beyond pilots and trials and are here to stay.

Serious Games for Health: Why should we be using them more, why aren’t we already and how would be doing that anyway? A serious session to be enjoyed.

Cost efficiency of simulations: Given the often expensive nature of simulation, this session raises the question whether we are making the most of our simulations, and if not, what we should be doing differently.


Conference Goals

The conference allows participants to:

  • Discuss scientific bases and best practices in healthcare education using simulation and Standardized Patients (SP)
  • Determine new directions for learning, teaching and assessing with SPs and simulators
  • Identify relationships between the use of SPs and simulations in education and patient safety
  • Network with international colleagues


Target audience

  • All faculty and clinicians involved in the education of healthcare professionals
  • Medical doctors and allied health professionals interested in this new approach of training and assessment

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Daniel Tolks , Postdoctoral Researcher at WG Digital Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Bielefeld University

Dr. Tolks studied health promotion and health management at the University of Magdeburg-Stendal and completed his doctorate at the LMU Munich Hospital.
His research focuses on the field of digital teaching and learning methods, artificial intelligence in medicine, digital health communication and the field of serious games and gamification to promote learning and health.

Serious Games and Gamification for Health: Why should we be using them more, why aren’t we already and how would we be doing that anyway? A serious session to be enjoyed.

The use of games to impart knowledge and change behaviour has accompanied people since the beginning of human history. Gaming remains an integral part of culture today and approximately half of the population plays computer games at least occasionally. The range of topics of playful approaches spans from Serious Games (the use of games with a pedagogical approach) to Gamification (the use of game elements in non-game concepts) (Deterding et al. 2011, Tolks et al. 2018, Sailer & Homner 2020).

The lecture describes the theoretical foundations and possible application scenarios of game-based elements in medical education. First, the historical lines of development are considered and the theoretical foundations and current studies are explained before the individual game elements are considered in more detail. The advantages and disadvantages as well as an outlook for the development of serious games and gamification are discussed. Some application cases in medical education as well as tips for the use of gamified approaches will be presented (Tolks & Sailer 2021).

Francine Viret, SP program Coordinator, Lausanne University School of Medicine (UNIL)

Francine Viret holds a PhD in Humanities. She has extensive experience in the field of mediation and conflict resolution. For ten years, she has been the coordinator of the simulated patient program at Lausanne University School of Medicine (UNIL). She has a particular interest in the empowerment of simulated patients and their potential contribution to medical education and the development of improved clinician-patient relations.

Karen Lister, Chief resident in general internal medicine, University hospitals of Geneva (HUG)

Beside her clinical duties and pre/post grad teaching activities, Karen Lister works for the CIS (Interprofessional Simulation Center) as a SP trainer for the faculty of medicine.

Standardized Patients in exceptional circumstances: Pandemic workarounds that are here to stay and how SP are not tools to use but experts to employ

The pandemic has forced our simulated patient programmes to adapt rapidly, in order to fulfil the needs of our health professionals and students. We have witnessed an incredibly fast development of video consultations, which had already been showing promise beforehand. Preparing our SP for virtual meetings and debriefings revealed some specific issues. These observations were made by people trained to be able to take a posture of meta-communication, in order to provide feedback. We need to confirm these observations with more research and, if validated, reinject them into our training programs, thereby further enhancing our progress in remote consultation between patients and healthcare workers.

More generally, working with SP and integrating their contributions to the subjects that are of interest to them, like diversity, gender issues, representation, can only be beneficial for our field. It should be supported by the resources which lead to integration into our training programs.

Dr. med. Tanja Birrenbach, MME is a senior physician at the University Emergency Department of Inselspital. As part of a postgraduate programme, she was awarded a Master in Medical Education (MME) from the Universities of Bern and Illinois at Chicago. She has long been involved in education and training, including clinical guidelines, ultrasound training, and simulation-based training. She leads the Virtual Reality Simulation group in the Department of Digital Emergency Medicine at the University Emergency Department of Inselspital.

Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Sauter, MME is a senior physician at the University Emergency Department of the Inselspital and Endowed Professor of Emergency Telemedicine at the University of Bern. He leads the Department of Digital Emergency Medicine and is working both scientifically and in practical application on the opportunities and risks of the digitalisation in emergency medicine, especially in the area of virtual reality in clinical practice as well as in education and training.Tanja Birrenbach and Thomas Sauter are co-founders of VISL – Virtual Inselspital Simulation Lab (www.visl.ch).

Virtual Emergency Medicine– Education in Acute Care Medicine

Training in and for emergency medicine is a great challenge. Under high time pressure, decisions with sometimes great consequences for the patient have to be made in ad-hoc teams with frequently changing staff. Shift work, scarce staff and unplanned workloads make training difficult. Virtual reality can be a possibility of the future to better prepare emergency teams for everyday life.

Ideas, opportunities or obstacles and the current state of the art will be presented by Dr. Tanja Birrenbach and Dr. Thomas Sauter in their lecture.


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