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Use of Simulated Patients in Disaster Medicine Training: A Systematic Review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 January 2020

Pier Luigi Ingrassia*
Universita degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale Amedeo Avogadro, SIMNOVA – Centro di Simulazione in Medicina e Professioni Sanitarie, Novara, Italy
Luca Pigozzi
Rainbow for Africa – R4A, Medical Development at Emergency Department, CTO Hospital, Torino, Italy
Mattia Bono
Azienda USL della Valle d’Aosta, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Unit Department, Aosta, Italy
Luca Ragazzoni
Research Center in Emergency and Disaster Medicine and Computer Science Applied to Medical Practice (CRIMEDIM), Department of Translational Medicine, Novara, Italy
Francesco Della Corte
CRIMEDIM Research Center in Disaster and Emergency, Medicine, Tranlational Medicine, Novara, Italy
Correspondence and reprint requests to Pier Luigi Ingrassia, Centro Interdipartimentale di Didattica Innovativa e di Simulazione in Medicina e Professioni Sanitarie, SIMNOVA, University of Piemonte Orientale, Via Lanino 1, Novara, Italy (e-mail:


Simulation is an effective teaching tool in disaster medicine education, and the use of simulated patients (SPs) is a frequently adopted technique. Throughout this article, we critically analyzed the use and the preparation of SPs in the context of simulation in disaster medicine. A systematic review of English, French, and Italian language articles was performed on PubMed and Google Scholar. Studies were included if reporting the use of SPs in disaster medicine training. Exclusion criteria included abstracts, citations, theses, articles not dealing with disaster medicine, and articles not using human actors in simulation. Eighteen papers were examined. All the studies were conducted in Western countries. Case reports represent 50% of references. Only in 44.4% of articles, the beneficiaries of simulations were students, while in most of cases were professionals. In 61.1% of studies SPs were moulaged, and in 72.2%, a method to simulate victim symptoms was adopted. Ten papers included a previous training for SPs and their involvement in the participants’ assessment at the end of the simulation. Finally, this systematic review revealed that there is still a lack of uniformity about the use of SPs in the disaster medicine simulations.

Systematic Review
Copyright © 2020 Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc.

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