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ACGME task force proposes graduated duty hour and supervision standards
Date:6/23/2010

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The task force also considered a variety of studies that indicated reducing duty hours does not necessarily reduce medical errors or enhance residents' average sleep time. Furthermore, independent longitudinal research has demonstrated that the 2003 standards have resulted in a significant decrease in the average number of hours that residents work per week. For the first time since the annual survey was initiated in 1977, that number of hours is less than 60 hours per week. (Staiger, DO, et.al. JAMA. 2010;303(8):747-753)

In addition, a comprehensive review of independent research on quality care issues demonstrated no connection between mortality and morbidity at hospitals and resident duty hours. The literature did, however, indicate "handovers" transitioning a patient's care from one physician to another can lead to medical errors because of the potential for miscommunication. Consequently, the draft training standards attempt to both limit resident fatigue and minimize the number of patient handovers by structuring duty hours so that transitions in care occur only twice a day.

"In revisiting resident training standards the task force considered many issues, not just duty hours, that can spark an emotional response," Dr. Nasca said. "Our process strove to strip away the emotion and evaluate the available scientific data to make the proposed new standards as evidence-based as possible."

Recommendations Based on 16-month Scientific Review

Honoring a commitment to study and revise the current resident duty hours standards, issued in 2003, after a cohort of residents had completed training under those requirements, ACGME began the process of reassessing its resident training requirements for all specialties in February 2009. That June it convened a special Task Force on Quality Care and Professionalism to draft proposed new standards.

The 16-member ACGME task force represents leading specialists in med
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Contact: Nancy Brennan
312-755-7050
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
Source:Eurekalert

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