This article has a correction

Please see: Qual Saf Health Care 2005;14:72

Qual Saf Health Care 13:i11-i18 doi:10.1136/qshc.2004.009886
  • Original Article

A brief history of the development of mannequin simulators for clinical education and training

  1. J B Cooper1,
  2. V R Taqueti2
  1. 1Department of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Jeffrey B Cooper
 Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street CLN 250, Boston, MA 02114, USA;


    Simulation for medical and healthcare applications, although still in a relatively nascent stage of development, already has a history that can inform the process of further research and dissemination. The development of mannequin simulators used for education, training, and research is reviewed, tracing the motivations, evolution to commercial availability, and efforts toward assessment of efficacy of those for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cardiology skills, anaesthesia clinical skills, and crisis management. A brief overview of procedural simulators and part-task trainers is also presented, contrasting the two domains and suggesting that a thorough history of the 20+ types of simulator technologies would provide a useful overview and perspective. There has been relatively little cross fertilisation of ideas and methods between the two simulator domains. Enhanced interaction between investigators and integration of simulation technologies would be beneficial for the dissemination of the concepts and their applications.


    • * Good and Gravenstein refer to the very early roots of simulation, for instance to the medieval quintain, a mounted figure used for lance practice by horse mounted knights.1 There is a successful history of simulation in non-medical domains, with aviation most often cited as the example to emulate. That experience has influenced the development of medical simulators, but is described elsewhere.2,3

    • * As the original sources of many procedural trainers were from corporate research and development versus the generally academic source of most mannequin simulators, publications are less indicative of the chronology of development or appearance of specific technologies.