Simulation training reduces birth-related risks for pregnant women

Team training in obstetrics teams in hospitals helps reduce harm to new-born babies in the event of acute complications during birth. This is the finding of the PhD study undertaken by gynaecologist Joost van de Ven in collaboration with the Máxima Medical Center (MMC). Van de Ven also showed that this training method was cost-effective. On Tuesday he defends his thesis. 

Twenty-four Dutch hospitals took part in the “TOSTI” (Training Obstetric Emergency Teams Intervention) study in which half the hospitals received a one-day team training in a medical simulation center and the other half did not. This team training was geared to communication and team performance. The birth-related complications were registered among all the hospitals for a year. Finally, the trained and non-trained hospitals were examined to find out whether differences were evident in the number and nature of the complications. Van de Ven demonstrated that the harm suffered by new-born babies caused by an emergency situation reduced when the obstetrics team had followed team training in a simulation center and repeated the training every three months in their own hospital. 


An economic analysis was also undertaken during the study using the data of the TOSTI study to identify whether high costs could be a possible disadvantage to following simulation training in a simulation center. This analysis revealed that team training in a medical simulation center is cost-effective if the essential repeat training was done in the team’s own hospital. This is the first time that the cost-effectiveness of simulation team training has been calculated.


In 2005 the Máxima Medical Center was the first hospital in the Netherlands to begin regular team training using medical simulation with a simulation center being established at the time consisting of a delivery room and a neonatal intensive care unit. The positive results in the obstetrics department prompted team training to be developed for more fields.

Medsim was established to encourage the use of simulation training in the medical world. The center’s simulation training makes a significant contribution to patient safety. This is an initiative of the Máxima Medical Center and Eindhoven University of Technology. 


Joost van de Ven defends his thesis 'Effectiveness of technology-enhanced medical team training in obstetrics' on Tuesday 27 June. He undertook his study at the department of Electrical Engineering, under the supervision of prof.dr. Guid Oei and prof.dr. Ben Willem Mol (University of Adelaide, Australia).