Changes in medical practice that limit instruction time and patient availability, the expanding options for diagnosis and management, and advances in technology are contributing to greater use of simulation technology in medical education. Four areas of high-technology simulations currently being used are laparoscopic techniques, which provide surgeons with an opportunity to enhance their motor skills without risk to patients; a cardiovascular disease simulator, which can be used to simulate cardiac conditions; multimedia computer systems, which includes patient-centered, case-based programs that constitute a generalist curriculum in cardiology; and anesthesia simulators, which have controlled responses that vary according to numerous possible scenarios. Some benefits of simulation technology include improvements in certain surgical technical skills, in cardiovascular examination skills, and in acquisition and retention of knowledge compared with traditional lectures. These systems help to address the problem of poor skills training and proficiency and may provide a method for physicians to become self-directed lifelong learners.
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