Research Techniques in Human Performance Using Realistic Simulation

  • David M. Gaba


This chapter concerns the research uses of realistic patient simulators in the evaluation of different aspects of human performance of clinical personnel. The issues of human performance in health care and patient safety may be viewed as a jigsaw puzzle for which at least three different experimental approaches can provide interlocking, and complementary pieces. No single approach can give the entire picture of human error and safety. Realistic simulation has many advantages and some disadvantages for research. I believe that high-fidelity realistic simulations of patient care situations are an important tool in studying error modalities in high criticality health care environments. These environments include anesthesia, intensive care, emergency and trauma care, labor and delivery, cardiac catheterization laboratories, and cardiac arrest teams. I first discuss how simulation fits in the jigsaw puzzle with other research techniques for investigating human performance.


Primary Task Secondary Task Realistic Simulation Mental Workload Spare Capacity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Gaba
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.VA Palo Alto HCSUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyStanford UniversityUSA

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