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Keywords:

  • simulation;
  • continuing medical education;
  • physical fidelity;
  • functional fidelity;
  • psychological fidelity;
  • guidelines;
  • fidelity

Abstract

Use of simulation-based training is fast becoming a vital source of experiential learning in medical education. Although simulation is a common tool for undergraduate and graduate medical education curricula, the utilization of simulation in continuing medical education (CME) is still an area of growth. As more CME programs turn to simulation to address their training needs, it is important to highlight concepts of simulation technology that can help to optimize learning outcomes. This article discusses the role of fidelity in medical simulation. It provides support from a cross section of simulation training domains for determining the appropriate levels of fidelity, and it offers guidelines for creating an optimal balance of skill practice and realism for efficient training outcomes. After defining fidelity, 3 dimensions of fidelity, drawn from the human factors literature, are discussed in terms of their relevance to medical simulation. From this, research-based guidelines are provided to inform CME providers regarding the use of simulation in CME training.