Dr. Sharon Decker Shares Valuable Insights on How to Measure Return on Investment for Simulation Programs and Centers

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Proving Our Worth Through Data

The simulation community has been challenged to show return on investment (ROI) for simulation programs and centers.  In her recent webinar presentation, Dr. Decker speaks about the value of ROI and suggests a method to assist in addressing this challenge.

Is your Administration asking you to provide ROI?

Dr. Decker says hers is. They’re saying, “Now that you have the center … in multiple sites, show me the money. What is the proof that what we’re doing is really working? How do we streamline the operations?”

Because of the impact that administration has on the budget, many simulation professionals are being asked to lower costs and improve the service provided.

In fact, 68% of the webinar audience polled said they have been asked about the impact of simulation.

Dr. Decker explains that Administrators are asking for a performance measurement to evaluate how efficient or productive the simulation program is related to the investment, or to components of the investment.

A second poll conducted during the webinar revealed that only 43% are being asked to validate the ROI.

Dr. Decker is not surprised by these results because information in relation to simulation programs’ ROI requests are just starting to appear in the literature.

A formula for ROI success

Dr. Decker describes a formula that can be utilized to provide ROI from an accounting perspective – what was gained from the investment.

Cost of the investment x 100/cost of investment = ROI percent

Hypothetically, if a simulator cost $50,000 to purchase, that’s a $50,000 investment. If it generates $100,000 in revenue per year, then the ROI would be 100%.

A look beyond the numbers

We live in a very complex world. Simulation programs and sim centers are multifaceted. And it’s not always easy to explain to Administration how everything fits together.

Dr. Decker believes that the value of simulation cannot be demonstrated by looking at it with just a mathematical formula. Different forms of value need to be described and documented.

While very little has been written about the ROI of simulation, Dr. Decker has found an article that suggests looking at the holistic value or gain.

She asks the audience: What is the value specific to simulation-based activities? What is the gain? What is the holistic value?

The audience responded: Safe patient care; student confidence; quality improvement; experience for professionals; student outcomes; evaluation of students and program outcomes; safe learning environment; lives saved; clinical skills; reduction in patient harm.

Dr. Decker reiterates that the simulation community needs to look for a method that shows “value” not just in numbers, but also use a value matrix to address some of the responses above: a value measurement methodology.

Watch the recorded webinar to find out more. Click here to access our webinar archive.

Professor Sharon Decker, RN, PhD, ANEF, FAAN, is the Director of the F. Marie Hall SimLifeCenter at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

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