Residency

Rethinking duty hours

Residency Program Insider, March 21, 2014

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Two national studies that aim to examine the effects of duty hour standards on patient outcomes are about to launch with the support of the ACGME, signaling the accrediting organization may be willing to reconsider work hour standards.
 
About 150 general surgery programs will participate in the FIRST trial. As part of the study, some participants will be permitted to relax certain work hour requirements, such as the 16-hour maximum shift for first-year residents. In the iCompare study, internal medicine programs will test a 28-hour shift strategy with a four-hour protected sleep period for first-year residents.
 
Both studies will examine the effect of resident work hours on patient outcomes and aim to generate evidence about the effectiveness of current duty hour standards. 
 
The ACGME has provided seed funding for the research, which is needed to address what CEO Thomas J. Nasca, MD, MACP, called an “information gap” in an open letter to the medical education community. The ACGME will not be involved with the design or implementation of the studies, but did agree to waive duty hour requirements for participants, Nasca wrote.
 
Look for in-depth coverage about these studies in an upcoming issue of Residency Program Alert.



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