News & Press: Simulation Technologies

What does your clinical pharmacology simulation toolkit contain?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020  
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A recent review by Andrews and Barta
1 provides a nice overview of the different ways in which simulation is used to teach clinical pharmacology to nursing, medicine and other health professionals. 

One of the earliest and most common methods was using computer or screen based simulations and as technology evolved, newer methods such as high fidelity patient simulation (HFPS) and serious games were introduced. Computer-based simulations or computer assisted learning is well accepted as a method for teaching principles and theoretical concepts, data handling and interpretation, communication and report-writing and experimental design. As CAL technologies have improved, the use of multimedia, animation, audio, video and virtual environments has increased. Table 1 in the article provides a list of free software programs and intended uses for teaching clinical pharmacology.

The use of HFPS to demonstrate pharmacodynamic responses in a human model helps learners to contextualize content. It has been shown to be effective for increasing pharmacology knowledge and the perceived understanding of this knowledge and its context in clinical practice and for translational research, and increased knowledge retention immediately following and at 90 days post-simulation. Table 2 provides a list of agents or conditions for which HFPs has been shown effective for teaching clinical pharmacology. 

A more recent introduction to the toolkit, serious games, has been shown to be effective in improving knowledge of opioids and management or postoperative pain, and cardiac pharmacology. The use of virtual and augmented reality and barriers to their implementation are also discussed, as are the challenges that COVID-19 restrictions have presented to educators.  

The article concludes with a call to action for standardization or agreed approach to the use of simulation in teaching clinical pharmacology across disciplines or curricula. The authors believe that simulation--based education is underutilized in clinical pharmacology education and make realistic and achievable recommendations for increasing the integration of SBE into pharmacology education. 

Read the full article here:


1. Andrews, L.B., Barta, L. Simulation as a Tool to Illustrate Clinical Pharmacology Concepts to Healthcare Program Learners.  Curr Pharmacol Rep6, 182–191 (2020).