Dictionary Released by Society for Simulation in Healthcare

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The Healthcare Simulation Dictionary (released in June 2016 by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare) features a collection of terminology, their meaning and definitions as used in the medical simulation profession today.

From the dictionary's preamble:

In January 2013, an international group of simulation experts gathered in Orlando, Florida USA to form a working team whose mission was to create a dictionary of terms used in healthcare simulation. It was recognized by this group that there was a need to compile terms that had been completed by other groups in healthcare simulation and to add more terms.

This is truly worthwhile resource for the healthcare simulation industry!

Simulation Dictionary _ SSH _ CAE Healthcare Blog

download a copy of the dictionary

8 Sample Medical Simulation/Healthcare Simulation Terms:
What follows are just a handful of terms and their definitions from the SSH.org dictionary. Some of these words and phrases may be already widely known, while others might not yet be as familiar. 

  1. Advocacy and Inquiry
    : A method of debriefing in which an observer states what was observed or performed in a simulation activity (advocacy) or shares critical or appreciative insights about it explicitly (advocacy) and then asks the learners for an explanation of their thoughts or actions (inquiry) (Rudolph et al, 2007).
  2. Conceptual Fidelity 
    : Ensures that all elements of the scenario relate to each other in a realistic way so that the case makes sense as a whole to the learner(s). 
  3. Distributed Simulation 
    Definition: A set of simulations operating in a common environment and distributed to learners; a distributed simulation may be composed of any of the three modes of simulation: live, virtual, and constructive, and are seamlessly integrated within a single exercise (M&S Glossary).
  4. Fiction Contract
    Definition: The “suspension of disbelief.” The implication is that an engagement in simulation is a contract between the instructor and the learner; each has to do his or her part to make the simulation worthwhile (Rudolph, Dieckmann, et.al.). 
  5. Psychological Safety
    Definition: A feeling (explicit or implicit) within a simulation-based activity that participants are comfortable participating, speaking up, sharing thoughts, and asking for help as needed without concern for retribution or embarrassment.
  6. Screen-based Simulation
    Definition: A simulation presented on a computer screen using graphical images and text, similar to popular, serious gaming format, where the operator interacts with the interface. The programs require real-time decision-making and can provide feedback to (and track actions of) learners for assessment, eliminating the need for an instructor.

    (Read Improving Patient Care with Screen-Based Simulation)
  7. Virtual Reality Simulation
    Definition: Being something in essence or effect, though not actually or in fact. Simulations that use a variety of immersive, highly visual, 3D characteristics to replicate real-life situations and/or healthcare procedures by incorporating interfaces such as a computer keyboard, motion sensors, or haptic devices (ASSH)

The authors painstakingly took great care to ensure accuracy and clarity for those who would use the dictionary in their instruction, teaching and systems integration initiatives. Towards that end, they included "key points to keep in mind" when perusing the dictionary, a few of which are outlined below:

  • This is a living document. Terms and definitions will change and be edited, added, or deleted over time.
  • As a living document, all are encouraged to submit feedback using the form located at www.ssih.org/dictionary.
  • The intent was to be inclusive of the various definitions in use, not to exclude any definitions or areas of healthcare simulation.
  • This collection shows how terms are being used in simulation. It is not intended to dictate one particular definition over another. (Joseph O. Lopreiato MD, MPH JUNE 2016)

The Healthcare Simulation Dictionary was developed with support and input from:
Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH) • Association for Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) • Australian Society for Simulation in Healthcare (ASSH) • Brasilian Association for Simulation in Health (Abrassim) • Canadian Network for Simulation in Healthcare (CNSH) • Dutch Society for Simulation in Healthcare (DSSH) • International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation in Learning (INACSL) • International Pediatric Simulation Society (IPSS) • Japan Society for Instructional Systems in Healthcare (JSISH) • Korean Society for Simulation in Healthcare (KoSSH) • Latin American Association for Clinical Simulation (ALASIC) • New Zealand Association for Simulation in Healthcare (NZASH) • Pan Asia Society for Simulation in Healthcare (PASSH) • Polish Society of Medical Simulation (PSMS) • Portuguese Society for Simulation (SPSim) • Russian Society for Simulation Education in Medicine (ROSOMED) • Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM) • Spanish Society of Clinical Simulation and Patient Safety (SESSEP

Citation: Lopreiato, J. O. (Ed.), Downing, D., Gammon, W., Lioce, L., Sittner, B., Slot, V., Spain, A. E. (Associate Eds.), and the Terminology & Concepts Working Group. (2016). Healthcare Simulation DictionaryTM. (Accessed online;  Jun 2, 2016 )