The Biomedical Centre of Simulation's mission is to provide a training area with clinical scenarios’ simulators (ex:.ER, operative block or intensive care).
The triggering problem was the lack of sufficient patients to train the hundreds of med school students on essential medical procedures, so there was a clear need for replacing patients with consistent simulators for procedures that necessarily need to be practiced, such as collecting clinical informations; more uncomfortable procedures to be taught with an audience, such as a breast palpation; new surgeries to be performed by doctors on future patients; specific actions (like bathing inpatients) to be trained by healthcare assistants; teaching firefighters how to deliver life support on ambulances, and so on.
The main work to finish was actually rebuilding the space for the simulation center’s rooms - the simulators were acquired before, but they weren’t being used at all.
After the building was ready to start receiving students, there was a communication effort on making the project not only visible to external organizations (such as congresses and other universities who don’t have access to such simulators), but also viable to university teachers and a way of making university classes more effective and less invasive to patients.
The main stakeholders are university teachers and healthcare professionals, but also teaching institutions’ directors and hospital managers.
The main beneficiaries are all sorts of health professionals and students who need to practice any kind medical procedures.

Resources needed

Potentially, around 100.000€ were used to rebuild the centre; each simulator costs around 50.000€, (in total, about 300.000€ only on simulators and material within the centre).
There’s usually 2 full time employees (working mainly on administration and the preparation of classes).

Evidence of success

The amount of users is the biggest proof of success:
More than 5000 users (4655 are students); the simulators are used from the first to the sixth year of graduation; universities from other study areas (such as Veterinary) are trying to include, on the same centre, new animal simulators for the same purposes; and the centre is now used to evaluate students on the university subjects - so now they became a mandatory part of the graduation process.

Difficulties encountered

Some previous challenges: motivating teachers to include this technology on the curriculum (now the university is starting to setup the simulation classes permanently); there's the need for new tech (ex:.virtual simulators) but not enough funds; the physical space is getting small for so many users.

Potential for learning or transfer

Any university-hospitals whose curriculum foresees the need to provide the students simulators to replace real patients can start building its own simulation centre. If the centre is located at a university-hospital that will reinforce the connections, not only between teachers and students but also between other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, and the institutions responsible by organizing conferences, etc.
But other institutions, such as military organizations or private hospitals from other countries (such as Czech Republic or Angola) have visited the Simulation Centre before to consider transferring this practice to their own countries.
As referred above, this allows for better training of current and future health service professionals, and consequently to a better use of innovation for the improvement of health at a regional level.

Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.

Main institution
Centro Hospitalar do Porto / Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences - University of Porto
Norte, Portugal
Start Date
October 2014
End Date


Please login to contact the author.