Biomedical Simulation: Evolution, Concepts, Challenges and Future Trends


  • Carla Sá-Couto Biomedical Simulation Center. Faculty of Medicine. University of Porto. Porto. Portugal. Center for Health Technology and Services Research (CINTESIS). Faculty of Medicine. University of Porto. Porto. Portugal.
  • Luís Patrão Faculty of Health Sciences. University of Beira Interior. Covilhã. Portugal. Internal Medicine Department. Centro Hospitalar Tondela-Viseu. Viseu. Portugal.
  • Francisco Maio-Matos Department of Ambulatory Surgery and Department of Anesthesia. Coimbra Hospital and Universitary Centre. Coimbra. Portugal. CICS-UBI, Health Sciences Research Center. University of Beira Interior. Covilhã. Portugal.
  • José Miguel Pêgo Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS). School of Medicine. University of Minho. Braga. Portugal. ICVS/3Bs - PT Government Associate Laboratory. Braga/Guimarães. Portugal.



Clinical Competence, Computer Simulation, Education, Medical/methods, Patient Safety, Patient Simulation, Portugal, Simulation Training


Biomedical simulation is an effective educational complement for healthcare training, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. It enables knowledge, skills and attitudes to be acquired in a safe, educationally orientated and efficient manner. In this context, simulation provides skills and experience that facilitate the transfer of cognitive, psychomotor and proper communication competences, thus changing behavior and attitudes, and ultimately improving patient safety. Beyond the impact on individual and team performance, simulation provides an opportunity to study organizational failures and improve system performance. Over the last decades, simulation in healthcare had a slow but steady growth, with a visible maturation in the last ten years. The simulation community must continue to provide the core leadership in developing standards. There is a need for strategies and policy development to ensure its coordinated and cost-effective implementation, applied to patient safety. This paper reviews the evolutionary movements of biomedical simulation, including a review of the Portuguese initiatives and nationwide programs. For leveling knowledge and standardize terminology, basic but essential concepts in clinical simulation, together with some considerations on assessment, validation and reliability are presented. The final sections discuss the current challenges and future initiatives and strategies, crucial for the integration of simulation programs in the greater movement toward patient safety.


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How to Cite

Sá-Couto C, Patrão L, Maio-Matos F, Pêgo JM. Biomedical Simulation: Evolution, Concepts, Challenges and Future Trends. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2016 Dec. 30 [cited 2024 Apr. 25];29(12):860-8. Available from: