Strategic Management Simulations

A unique program to broaden resident understanding of their decision making styles.

Contact: Usha Satish, PhD, Director
Institute for Human Performance
SUNY Upstate Medical University
505 Irving Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210
Phone: 315 464-3114

The use of simulations is emerging as a formative tool for physician development. Simulations allow individuals to experience errors and failures and learn about their consequences in a safe environment. While simulations enhance safety and predictability, meaningful assessments of clinical performance and competence are critical to resident selection and evaluation. Performance measurement in the realms of strategic thinking, prioritizing, decision-making and leadership becomes crucial. Cognitive simulation offers an avenue for assessing and promoting the development of competent physicians, especially with regard to areas of decision-making and leadership.

Strategic Management Simulations (SMS) is a tool that explores more than the content of our knowledge but how we think and use that knowledge. SMS focuses on the competence to deal with complex problems across various fields in healthcare systems—that is, the underlying capacity of an individual or teams to make decisions that use their knowledge while incorporating new information most effectively. It provides the opportunity to test these competencies under the conditions of uncertainty, ambiguity, and situational change which characterize clinical life. The SMS methodology has been designed to measure how residents deal with complex real-world challenges that go beyond ordinary technical knowledge. The SMS measurement system highlights the underlying parameters of thinking critical to communication, teamwork, utilization of knowledge, breadth of approach, integration of knowledge with incoming information, use of planning and strategy. As a result, the simulation technique is able to accurately assess and quantify performance of residents in an objective manner and in a brief period of time. Based on complexity theory, Strategic Management Simulations not only allows the measurement of different components of cognitive functioning in response to complex tasks but also permits the identification of the impact of interactions among different measures. High levels of predictive validity, reliability, and applicability of the SMS simulations to real-world settings have been repeatedly demonstrated across multiple professions, cultures, and continents. Identification of each resident's specific tendencies and limitations provides an opportunity to focus training to improve performance in the clinical setting. Participation in a simulation can be followed by feedback and discussion of alternative ways to process information in areas in which changing approach can provide the greatest improvement in performance. The assessment of resident competence and specific decision-making limitations allows focused training that is cost and time effective and can be used over a lifetime.