Background: Simulation-based bronchoscopy training is increasingly used, but effectiveness remains uncertain. We sought to perform a comprehensive synthesis of published work on simulation-based bronchoscopy training.
Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, ERIC, Web of Science, and Scopus for eligible articles through May 11, 2011. We included all original studies involving health professionals that evaluated, in comparison with no intervention or an alternative instructional approach, simulation-based training for flexible or rigid bronchoscopy. Study selection and data abstraction were performed independently and in duplicate. We pooled results using random effects meta-analysis.
Results: From an initial pool of 10,903 articles, we identified 17 studies evaluating simulation-based bronchoscopy training. In comparison with no intervention, simulation training was associated with large benefits on skills and behaviors (pooled effect size, 1.21 [95% CI, 0.82-1.60]; n=8 studies) and moderate benefits on time (0.62 [95% CI, 0.12-1.13]; n=7). In comparison with clinical instruction, behaviors with real patients showed nonsignificant effects favoring simulation for time (0.61 [95% CI, -1.47 to 2.69]) and process (0.33 [95% CI, -1.46 to 2.11]) outcomes (n=2 studies each), although variation in training time might account for these differences. Four studies compared alternate simulation-based training approaches. Inductive analysis to inform instructional design suggested that longer or more structured training is more effective, authentic clinical context adds value, and animal models and plastic part-task models may be superior to more costly virtual-reality simulators.
Conclusions: Simulation-based bronchoscopy training is effective in comparison with no intervention. Comparative effectiveness studies are few.