Philippon et al., Innovating for a Safe Simulation Challenge During a Pandemic: An Avatar Simulation Concept, Simul Healthc, 2022

Philippon AL, Legros P, Grattery F, Leygue A, Pierrot V, Faucher S, Khoury A, Pornin A, Truchot J, Bouilleau G

Simul Healthc 2022 Apr doi: 10.1097/SIH.0000000000000652


We present a new simulation-based challenge (Sim’Cup) concept, created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It took place in 2020, during the European Society of Emergency Medicine and the Societé Française de Médecine d’Urgence (SFMU) conferences. Usually, during the conferences, a Sim’Cup is held with onsite participants who are involved in a consecutive series of face-to-face simulations organized in 2 qualifying rounds, followed by a final round. When congresses were transformed into online events, the Sim’Cup had to evolve into a virtual format as well. We developed the e-Sim’Cup concept as follows: participants staying safely at home, piloting the trainers, as if they were their own avatar, in a simulation room with a full-scale high-fidelity manikin (Gaumard, Laerdal) using real-time scenarios. Participants gave instructions to the avatars through a smartphone and via a website. Each team participated in 2 scenarios. At the end of each scenario, teams had to undergo a self-debriefing, followed by a short debriefing with the organizers. Twenty-seven participants divided into 9 teams participated in 1 of the 2 e-Sim’Cup events.We evaluated the impact of this approach using the Educational Practices Questionnaire, and we also analyzed the participants’ perception of their satisfaction and their feelings of improvement with this virtual format. Moreover, we conducted qualitative analyses of the self-debriefings. Thirteen participants filled out the questionnaire, giving a combined high Educational Practices Questionnaire score [72 (66.5-77) of 80], which reflects the presence of educational best practices during the e-Sim’Cups. They appreciated the adjusted Sim’Cup format and believed that they were able to improve their communication, clinical skills, and self-confidence. The qualitative analysis suggested that the approach was perceived as immersive by the 27 participants, with some challenges due to technical problems but an overall feeling of improvement regarding their crisis resource management skills. The hybrid remote simulation concept satisfied the participants who believed that it improved important skills in emergency medicine. The increasing number of remote activities and conferences lead us to believe that our e-Sim’Cup concept can be easily reproducible in any simulation center, as it requires only the application of the educational concept and either the use of the website or the use of some widely available technical devices.