Incorporation of screen based simulators into medical training has recently gained momentum, as advances in technology have coincided with a government led drive to increase the use of medical simulation training to improve patient safety with progressive reductions in working hours available for junior doctors to train. High fidelity screen based simulators hold great appeal for endoscopy training. Potentially, their incorporation into endoscopy training curricula could enhance speed of acquisition of skills and improve patient comfort and safety during the initial phase of learning. They could also be used to demonstrate competence as part of the future relicensing and revalidation of trained endoscopists. Two screen based simulators are widely available for lower gastrointestinal endoscopy training, with a third recently produced in prototype. The utility of these simulators in lower gastrointestinal endoscopy training has been investigated, and construct and expert validity has been shown. Novices demonstrate a learning curve with simulator training that appears to represent real learning of colonoscopy skills. This learning transfers well to the real patient environment, with improvements in performance and patient discomfort scores in subsequent initial live colonoscopy. The significant limitations of currently available screen based simulators include cost implications, and restrictions on a role in certification and revalidation. Many questions remain to be answered by future research, including how best to incorporate screen based simulators into a colonoscopy training programme, their role in training in therapeutic endoscopy and the impact of simulator training on patient safety.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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