Simulation: a strategy for success in quality and safety in pay-for-performance environments.
ABSTRACT Pay-for-Performance appears to be another step in our ever-changing healthcare environment. In most of the white papers, reports, and web pages devoted to improving the quality of healthcare in America, there is a failure to recognize or list medical simulation as a methodology to reduce the costs of implementation and to speed transition to the new order. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is funding research in simulation to improve quality. This article outlines the rationales for using simulation and how simulation can benefit all involved. With a paucity of proof that simulation can deliver in terms of improving the quality of healthcare, the mass of evidence has been from observation and anecdotal tales of medical professionals that simulation is a valid tool. This article correlates the use of simulation in other nonmedical pay-for-performance professions to similar situations in medicine as some other evidence that simulation should be considered a viable option. I conclude by relating the individual strengths of simulation to the six quality initiatives of the Institute of Medicine's second report from the Committee on Quality of Health Care in America. Simulation can work to enhance the assimilation of change with each of these initiatives and help to reduce the costs of doing so. There are limitations to simulation, but used within those limitations, simulation should prove to be a powerful tool.