Residents may be able to work longer hours

Residency Program Insider, March 29, 2019

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Resident shift length does not affect patient mortality, according to the results of the iCOMPARE trial. The New England Journal of Medicine published two papers earlier this month and discussed some of the findings of the trial, in which residents were allowed to work longer shift lengths than what is required by the ACGME. 

"We can confidently say that working flexible hours, still within the 80-hour constraints, does not result in higher patient mortality than working standard hours," Lisa Rosenbaum, MD, and Daniela Lamas, MD, wrote in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Data for iCOMPARE came from observations made of 63 different residency programs across the United States between 2015 and 2016. About half of the programs were assigned to follow the mandated shift limits while the other half did not restrict individual shifts as long as they fell within the 80 overall hours per week. Patients cared for by residents with less-restricted shift lengths had mortality rates no greater than those cared for by residents facing restricted shift lengths. As for the effect on residents, those facing longer shift lengths got no less sleep and did not experience more sleepiness than those with the more restricted shift lengths. 

Source: Penn Medicine News


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