Study: Restricting residency hours does not affect patient safety

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

January 14, 2015

A new study finds that restricting the number of hours that medical residents are allowed to be on duty weekly doesn’t produce measureable improvements in patient safety, according to a report on the website EHRIntelligence.com.

In a study published in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), surgical residents performed at nearly the same level two years before and two years after the duty-hour reforms that instituted 80-hour work weeks for residents by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), according to the report.

The study examined the rate of death or serious morbidity to patients at 23 teaching hospitals and 31 non-teaching hospitals by using data from academic years 2009 to 2010 and again from 2012 to 2013, spanning two years on either side of the 2011 reforms. According to the report, general rates of patient harm declined during the study periods, and the amount of working hours assigned to surgical residents did not impact these outcomes in adjusted analysis.