The Society for Simulation in Healthcare


The Society for Simulation in Healthcare

There are a number of professional societies that impact both modeling and simulation (M&S) professionals and the healthcare M&S industry as a whole. One of the most impactful is the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, aka SSH.

Full disclosure: I was the President of SSH throughout 2020.

Wendell Berry said, “A proper community, we should remember also, is a commonwealth: a place, a resource, an economy. It answers the needs, practical as well as social and spiritual, of its members — among them the need to need one another.” While Berry’s quote is referencing the social communities of neighborhoods and churches, the value found in sharing the journey extends to borderless communities – societies and associations – as well.

Modeling and simulation societies and associations in the international healthcare domain are important because they are all focused to a large degree on the education of healthcare students and training of healthcare practitioners. Their members use models and simulations to impart knowledge and skills; they know the value of healthcare modeling and simulation tools. These organizations are a critical part of the collaborative process required to establish practitioner standards of performance – standards that will be met in part through the use of simulation and simulators to educate, train, and eventually validate individual and small team performance. The value of simulations in this context is to impart training and education that meets a standard. While there is interest in the science behind the simulation, the simulation is only useful if it can be used to effectively support acquisition and validation of technical skills and practical knowledge.

The Society for Simulation in Healthcare is a United States-based international society that accredits simulation centers, certifies healthcare simulation professionals, holds an annual conference (the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH)) and numerous regional events and workshops, and publishes the Journal for Simulation in Healthcare on a monthly basis. For those interested, the SSH Purpose and Mission statements are here.

The SSH seeks to improve performance and reduce errors in patient care through the use of simulation. Established in 2004 by professionals using simulation for education, testing, and research in health care, SSH membership includes physicians, nurses, allied health and paramedical personnel, researchers, educators and developers from around the globe. SSH fosters the improvement and application of simulation–based modalities such as human patient simulators, virtual reality, standardized patients and task trainers.

Recognizing that simulation represents a paradigm shift in health care education, SSH promotes improvements in simulation technology, educational methods, practitioner assessment, and patient safety that promote better patient care and can improve patient outcome.

A major venue for advancing simulation in medicine is the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH). A precursor to IMSH was the first Society for Technology in Anesthesia (STA) meeting with simulation as the focus in 1998. In January 2001, the First International Meeting for Medical Simulation (IMMS) was held. This became the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare with an official name change in 2007 to reflect the diversity of SSH.

For those who are interested in engaging the healthcare M&S market, reading the Journal, and attending IMSH and its various other meetings (SIMOPS, workshops, etc.) are great ways to become exposed to the current and future mechanisms employed to impart and improve practitioner education and training, and ultimately to improve patient outcomes.