SimHealth and SimTecT 2015 - Review

SimHealth and SimTecT are a combined event run by Simulation Australasia and this year it was held from August 17-21 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The program boasted an impressive line-up of guest speakers and I was really looking forward to a couple of sessions in particular. The highlights for me were the keynote presentations from Mica Endsley, Ken Catchpole and Phaedra Boinodiris.

Interprofessional Education Masterclass

I was also fortunate to be able to attend a pre-conference master class on IPE debriefing with Janice Palaganas, although there were so many great master classes on offer it was really difficult to choose between them.The focus of the master class was to empower de-briefers when debriefing members of a profession other than one’s own. It concluded with a panel discussion and panel members addressing questions from the audience.The most common fear or perceived barrier among participants was not knowing enough about the other professions or the content of the simulation. The advice of the panel was to be transparent about your level of expertise and to invite contribution from each profession or content expert rather than pretending to have all of the answers yourself.Other issues that were raised are relevant to all debriefs – dominant participants and engagement difficulties. The responsibility of the facilitator to maintain an environment of respect was an important solution to both of these.

Janice Palaganas continued on the topic of IPE in her plenary address, and shared one of the unexpected findings in her research. In the process of learning how to participate in an IPE debrief, participants were also learning how to communicate in an IPE team.

Sitational Awareness

Mica Endsley was the keynote presenter for the opening plenary address and spoke about situational awareness. Dr Endsley has significant experience in this area across many different sectors, having published over 200 papers on the topic.Situational awareness is defined by Endsley as the perception of elements in the environment within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future. In other words, situational awareness is key to good decision-making and good performance.

The situational awareness model developed by Endsley describes three stages: perception, comprehension and projection.   The presentation also covered the topics of team situational awareness (the degree to which every team member possesses the situational awareness required for his or her responsibilities) and shared situational awareness (the degree to which team members possess the same situational awareness on shared situational awareness requirements).

Human Factors

Ken Catchpole delivered a fantastic presentation about human factors and how human factors research is being applied in different industries. He spoke about the myth of low-hanging fruit – if the problems in healthcare safety were really obvious they would have been addressed already. The reality is that the causes are complex and we cannot simply translate solutions from other industries directly into healthcare.A better solution is to understand why solutions have worked for other industries and to apply this information to healthcare.

Dr Catchpole also revealed his top 10 FALSE beliefs about accident causation in healthcare:

  1. Process and outcome are directly related
  2. Our systems are safe
  3. People are the weak link in the system
  4. Accident causation is a linear sequence of events
  5. Incidents have a root cause
  6. Root cause leads to a single solution
  7. Not following rules is negligent
  8. Problems can be fixed
  9. Somebody should be held accountable
  10. Safety is the priority that governs all decisions

For more information about this presentation, a slideshow is available here

Serious Games

My favourite presentation of all was from Phaedra Boinodiris on the potential of serious games and gamification. Phaedra is the global lead for gamification and serious games at IBM and spoke about how gaming presents a solution to the issue of engagement and is capable of influencing behaviour change in users. With reference to Daniel Pink’s book “Drive”, Boinodiris made the point that to maintain engagement in knowledge-workers, an understanding of motivational factors is vital, and for this population the primary motivating factor is self-direction. The three keys to this sense of self direction are autonomy, mastery and purpose. This presentation contained many examples of how serious games and gamification are being used to assess individual and team behaviour, solve complex problems, and improve systems.

All the keynote presentations featured a panel discussion in the second half of the session, which was a great way of presenting a broad application of the content. It was also a great way of exposing attendees to many experts while managing time constraints.

I found all of the sessions I attended had engaging speakers whose passion for simulation was clearly evident. These speakers were equally approachable and willing to share their wisdom and experience with attendees.

Kirrian Steer

Senior Simulation Coordinator

La Trobe University


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