CAEP FEI | EM Sim Cases

In Featured, Featured Education Innovations (FEI) by Kyla CanersLeave a Comment

 Asad is a third year resident. This year, he will need to start running simulation scenarios with the junior residents in his program. He finds a few old sample cases in his sim lab, but they all strike him as low quality. He wonders, is there a FOAMed resource to help?


This Feature Educational Innovation (FEI), titled “EMSimCases” was originally posted by the CAEP EWG FEI Team on February 12, 2016 and answers the question: “Is there a curated, template-based, open-access repository of simulation cases?” A PDF version is available here.

Description of the Innovation


The goal of this innovation was to create a Free Open Access Medical education (#FOAMed) website dedicated to disseminating simulation cases for emergency medicine teachers.


Over the past 10 years there has been a veritable explosion of online resources.There is a burgeoning literature around #FOAMed resources online.2–7 There is a significant diversity in resources and online educational resources blossoming via this online movement. Since members of the FOAM movement utilize disruptive technologies such as blog platforms, the ease of publication and dissemination has increased extensively. This has led sceptics to question the quality of the resources generated. Many of the resources developed can be of variable quality. To ensure higher quality, some more scholarly blogs sites have begun to adopt quality improvement strategies, including peer review.8


EMSimCases is one of the websites that has risen to the occasion of increasing the quality of online scholarship in simulation. With standardized, simple-to-use templates, EMSimCases is creating a rich database of cases under a creative commons license, allowing for teachers to borrow and adapt their cases for local use.


To ensure it is producing quality and evidence-based scenarios, the EMSimCases team has created a network of peer reviewers and editors to assist authors with reviewing their materials. By implementing these processes, websites like EMSimCases are part of a growing network of scholarly academic blogs that are worthy of being acknowledged as true avenues for robust scholarly activity, as recently endorsed by an international consensus document.6


Bi-monthly, EMSimCases publishes a peer-reviewed case, complete with objectives, completed templates, and visual stimuli. Occasionally, it also publishes simulation education posts to enrich the practice of simulation educators (see picture below for a screenshot of the website.)

To accomplish this, Drs. Caners and Kuuskne (the co-Editors-in-Chief) have formed a team of 13 people to help them with the behind-the-scenes work. Suffice it to say, each case is peer reviewed by two educators before it is finally disseminated via their blog platform.


In December 2015, EMSimCases has been up and running for 10 months. As of December 2015, they have published 29 posts so far (19 of them being cases and 10 educational posts).
Here are some of their most recent statistics:
  • Average visitors/month = 689
  • Average page views/month = 1 551
  • Total page views = 15 674
  • Total visitors = 6 944
In the last year, we’ve had 5 533 Canadians, 4 769 Americans, and 1 013 Australians visit the site (plus a wide array of people from a total of 108 countries).

Reflective Critique

The ultimate goal of EMSimCases is to serve as a database of high quality, peer-reviewed Emergency Medicine simulation cases. Once submitted, our medical student editors do a great job converting cases to our template. Our peer-review process has been streamlined using several key questions like “does the case have clear objectives?” and “does the case meet its stated objectives?” There is often a healthy debate around key patient management decisions or the architecture of the case progression. This is usually resolved with third and fourth party peer review. An important part of the peer review process is identifying thinking biases and coming to a general consensus regarding debatable learner actions.


Curating cases from across Canada has allowed us to have a finger on the pulse of Canadian simulation education in Emergency Medicine in terms of quality and content. Furthermore, developing cases allows us to exercise our knowledge of medical education theory with respect to the alignment of learning objectives with appropriate learning strategies. Our SimEducation blog posts provide practical synopses of both core medical education theory and simulation concepts that can be put to use when running your next simulation session.


One of the challenges we have faced is recruiting cases from a broader array of Canadian educational centres and simulation programs. We aim to address this in 2016 by increasing our social media presence and further strengthening the community of practice of simulation educators through future collaborations.

Share with us!

If you would like to contribute to EMSimCases and have your work disseminated to the world’s educators, we are happy to work with you. You can download the EMSimCases template here.
We’d love to see what you create. Send us your cases ([email protected]) and they could be featured on our blog for others to enjoy (always with due credit).

What are your go-to simulation scenarios? Is there a risk of “ruining” the surprise if the cases were shared on an online platform?


More About the CAEP FEI

This post was originally authored for the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Feature Educational Innovations project sponsored by the CAEP Academic Section’s Education Working Group and edited by Drs. Teresa Chan and Julien Poitras. CAEP members receive FEI each month in the CAEP Communiqué. CanadiEM will be reposting some of these summaries, along with a case/contextualizing concept to highlight some recent medical education literature that is relevant to our nation’s teachers. [bg_faq_end]



1. Cadogan M, Thoma B, Chan TM, Lin M. Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM): the rise of emergency medicine and critical care blogs and podcasts (2002-2013). Emerg Med J. February 2014:1-2. doi:10.1136/emermed-2013-203502.
2. Hillman T, Sherbino J. Social media in medical education: a new pedagogical paradigm? Postgrad Med J. 2015;91(1080):544-545. doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2015-133686.
3. Scott KR, Hsu CH, Johnson NJ, Mamtani M, Conlon LW, DeRoos FJ. Integration of social media in emergency medicine residency curriculum. Ann Emerg Med. 2014;64(4):396-404. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2014.05.030.
4. Mallin M, Schlein S, Doctor S, Stroud S, Dawson M, Fix M. A survey of the current utilization of asynchronous education among emergency medicine residents in the United States. Acad Med J Assoc Am Med Coll. 2014;89(4):598-601. doi:10.1097/ACM.0000000000000170.
5. Purdy E, Thoma B, Bednarczyk J, Migneault D, Sherbino J. The use of free online educational resources by Canadian emergency medicine residents and program directors. Can J Emerg Med. 2015;In Press.
6. Sherbino J, Arora VM, Van Melle E, Rogers R, Frank JR, Holmboe ES. Criteria for social media-based scholarship in health professions education. Postgrad Med J. 2015;91(1080):551-555. doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2015-133300.
7. Thoma B, Chan TM, Paterson QS, Milne WK, Sanders JL, Lin M. Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Blogs and Podcasts: Establishing an International Consensus on Quality. Ann Emerg Med. 2015. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2015.03.002.
8. Thoma B, Chan T, Desouza N, Lin M. Implementing peer review at an emergency medicine blog: bridging the gap between  educators and clinical experts. CJEM. 2015;17(2):188-191. doi:10.2310/8000.2014.141393.
Kyla Caners

Kyla Caners

Kyla Caners is a staff Emergency Physician and Director of Simulation at McMaster University. She is the co-creator of emsimcases.com.
Kyla Caners

Latest posts by Kyla Caners (see all)

Martin Kuuskne

Martin Kuuskne is a staff Emergency Physician in Toronto. He completed a simulation fellowship at McGill University and is a co-Editor-in-Chief at emsimcases.com.

Latest posts by Martin Kuuskne (see all)

Teresa Chan

Senior Editor at CanadiEM
Emergency Physician. Medical Educator. #FOAMed Supporter, Producer and Researcher. Chief Strategy Officer of CanadiEM. Associate Professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, McMaster University.

Daniel Ting

Daniel Ting is an Emergency Physician and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, based in Vancouver. He is the Editor-in-Chief of CanadiEM and a Decision Editor at the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine. He completed the CanadiEM Digital Scholarship Fellowship in 2017-18. No conflicts of interest (COI).