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ABSTRACT: Effect of the 16-Hour Work Limit on General Surgery Intern Operative Case Volume: A Multi-institutional Study

IMPORTANCE The 80-hour work-week limit for all residents was instituted in 2003 and studies looking at its effect have been mixed. Since the advent of the 16-hour mandate for postgraduate year 1 residents in July 2011, no data have been published regarding the effect of this additional work-hour restriction. OBJECTIVE To determine whether the 16-hour intern work limit, implemented in July 2011, has adversely affected operative experience. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A retrospective review of categorical postgraduate year 1 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education case logs from the intern class N = 52 with 16-hour work limit compared with the 4 preceding years 2007-2010; N = 197 without 16-hour work limit. A total of 249 categorical general surgery interns from 10 general surgery residency programs in the western United States were included. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Total, major, first-assistant, and defined-category case totals. RESULTS As compared with the preceding 4 years, the 2011-2012 interns recorded a 25.8% decrease in total operative cases 65.9 vs 88.8, P = .005, a 31.8% decrease in major cases 54.9 vs 80.5, P < .001, and a 46.3% decrease in first-assistant cases 11.1 vs 20.7, P = .008. There were statistically significant decreases in cases within the defined categories of abdomen, endocrine, head and neck, basic laparoscopy, complex laparoscopy, pediatrics, thoracic, and soft tissue/breast surgery in the 16-hour shift intern era, whereas there was no decrease in trauma, vascular, alimentary, endoscopy, liver, and pancreas cases. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE The 16-hour work limit for interns, implemented in July 2011, is associated with a significant decrease in categorical intern operative experience. If the 16-hour shift were to be extended to all postgraduate year levels, one can anticipate that additional years of training will be needed to maintain the same operative volume.

via Effect of the 16-Hour Work Limit on General Surger… [JAMA Surg. 2013] – PubMed – NCBI.

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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