Human and Technological Simulation in Medicine


Human simulation in medical education: standardized patients (in collaboration with Kaisu Koski, Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

This film-based inquiry explores how standardized patients work with medical students to help them practice their clinical and interpersonal skills in preparation for their medical licensing exams. The project is part of Kaisu’s five-year Academy Research Fellow project, funded by the Academy of Finland, and conducted in collaboration with the Medical Futures Lab and McGovern Medical School Standardized Patient Program in the Surgical and Clinical Skills Center (SCSC). Kaisu’s joint fellowship in the Medical Futures Lab and the SCSC in 2016 has thus far resulted in a documentary film Scenes of Disclosure. The film was first screened in the opening of the International Health Humanities Consortium Conference in Houston in 2017. The film is dedicated to exploring the tension between standardization and authenticity that is involved in this work, particularly in “breaking bad news.” Ideally such an encounter is deeply human, authentic, and empathic, yet the interaction is also a highly structured simulation governed by clinical protocols and checklists. In this film, standardized patients portray three distinct characters and repertoires of responses, while medical students learn to proceed according to a “breaking bad news” framework. Both sets of participants thus run parallel mental scenarios while the encounter emerges. In this project, the artist-researcher develops cinematic-performative ways to explore both the standardized patients’ work and the medical students’ learning process, and explores how it feels to tell bad news in first-person.