The 7 Components of a Successful Robotic Simulation Training Program


Founded in 2001, Mimic Technologies has been providing robotic surgery simulation training for 15 years. Over the years, Mimic has been involved with one of the most successful surgical simulation launches of all time, with over 2,000 simulators using MSim software worldwide. We estimate that over 30,000 surgeons / residents use this simulation install base each year and that since it was launched, over 6.5 million exercise sessions have been completed.

Many leading academic centers around the world have incorporated Mimic hardware and software into their training programs and there have been numerous publications that were researched and written on Mimic’s hardware and software proving validity.  (A sample of these published studies can be found here.)

All of this experience has allowed Mimic to collect simulation data as well as hands-on experience in successfully implementing best practices to help fully develop new and existing robotic surgery simulation training programs. Over the years, we have found that the most common traits of a successful simulation training program include:

  1. Individuals (trainees) are uniquely identified and results are recorded
    Data is king! It is important for simulation users to create an account and always remember to sign in so that the record of performance over time can show a progression of skill development and maintenance.
  2. Proficiency levels have been discussed and agreed upon
    The study, Best Practices for Robotic Surgery Training and Credentialing, published in 2011 in the Journal of Urology by Jason Lee, et al., concluded that “Rather than being based on a set number of completed cases, robotic surgery credentialing should involve the demonstration of proficiency and safety in executing basic robotic skills and procedural tasks. In addition, the accreditation process should be iterative to ensure accountability to the patient.” Setting institutional standards that have been both discussed and agreed upon will ensure that all clinicians who will be training using simulation are meeting the same requirements. Objective scoring is also helpful to implement a fair and accurate training environment.
  3. Curricula are developed, allocated appropriately, and continuously measured
    According to a 2005 study, Virtual Reality Simulation for the Operating Room: Proficiency-Based Training as a Paradigm Shift in Surgical Skills Training, by Gallagher, et al., “Virtual reality training is more likely to be successful if it is systematically integrated into a well-thought-out education and training program.” Defining specific exercises, mapping out a training path, and continuously checking progress is essential for ensuring that trainees get the most out of simulation to build their skills and move up the learning curve towards proficiency.
  4. Simulation training platforms are easily accessible to trainees
    Also essential for simulation training is ensuring that trainees are able to access the simulator at times that are most convenient and conducive to their learning preferences.
  5. Simulation time is transferable to the real tool
    Face validation shows that a training tool has a realistic look and feel. The 2015 study published in Surgical Endoscopy, Robotic Surgery Simulation Validity and Usability Comparative Analysis, concluded that, “Usability can affect the consistency and commitment of users of robotic surgical simulators.” Before simulation training is implemented, the training tool should be carefully assessed to ensure the skills trainees acquire transfer to the tool they will be utilizing.
  1. Cognitive and psychomotor skills can be validated
    In addition to validating the training tool for Face and Content, the acquisition of both cognitive and psychomotor skills should be validated and proven to make outcomes better. Construct validity distinguishes experienced medical professionals from the inexperienced, Concurrent validity measures the extent to which the simulator correlates with the “Gold standard”, and Predictive validity goes so far as to predict future performance. These types of validation are important to consider when choosing a simulation training tool.
  2. Teams can train together
    The ability to incorporate team training within a simulation training curricula ensure that the trainees will have well-rounded skills such as communication and movement coordination in addition to being proficient in operating the tool they are training for. The study, Teaching Surgical Skills – Changes in the Wind, published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Richard Reznick, et al., stated, “Virtual reality has the potential to enhance surgical-team training as well as technical skills training. In aviation, teamwork training with simulation has been instrumental in reducing errors. The importance of teamwork in preventing medical error is well recognized, and simulator-based team training has been advocated as a possible preventive approach. Early research results have been promising.”


Advances in technology and virtual reality simulation training can make medical training safer, more cost-effective, and efficient and building a successful program doesn’t have to be difficult if similar principles and benchmarks are applied.


For more information on how Mimic Medical Education and Development (MimicMED) can help develop your institution’s simulation training programs, click here or contact us at: