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1.  The Utility of Letters of Recommendation in Predicting Resident Success: Can the ACGME Competencies Help? 
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) core competencies are used to assess resident performance, and recently similar competencies have become an accepted framework for evaluating medical student achievements as well. However, the utility of incorporating the competencies into the resident application has not yet been assessed.
The objective of this study was to examine letters of recommendation (LORs) to identify ACGME competency–based themes that might help distinguish the least successful from the most successful residents.
Residents entering a university-based residency program from 1994 to 2004 were retrospectively evaluated by faculty and ranked in 4 groups according to perceived level of success. Applications from residents in the highest and lowest groups were abstracted. LORs were qualitatively reviewed and analyzed for 9 themes (6 ACGME core competencies and 3 additional performance measures). The mean number of times each theme was mentioned was calculated for each student. Groups were compared using the χ2 test and the Student t test.
Seventy-five residents were eligible for analysis, and 29 residents were ranked in the highest and lowest groups. Baseline demographics and number of LORs did not differ between the two groups. Successful residents had statistically significantly more comments about excellence in the competency areas of patient care, medical knowledge, and interpersonal and communication skills.
LORs can provide useful clues to differentiate between students who are likely to become the least versus the most successful residency program graduates. Greater usage of the ACGME core competencies within LORs may be beneficial.
PMCID: PMC3179231  PMID: 22942969
2.  Successfully Matching Into Surgical Specialties: An Analysis of National Resident Matching Program Data 
We explored the impact that attributes of US medical school seniors have on their success in matching to a surgical residency, in order to analyze trends for National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) match outcomes in surgical specialties between 2007 and 2009.
Using Electronic Residency Application Service data and NRMP outcomes, we analyzed medical students' attributes and their effect in successfully matching students into residency positions in surgery, otolaryngology, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology. Attributes analyzed included self-reported United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 and Step 2 scores, Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society membership, research experience, additional graduate degree status, and graduation from a top 40 National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded medical school. Odds ratios were calculated for each criterion, and 95% confidence intervals were used to determine significance.
Between 2007 and 2009, the number of surgical specialty residency positions increased by 86, and the number of applicants increased by 34. Membership in AOA, USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores, research experience, and graduation from a top 40 NIH-funded medical school frequently had a significant impact on residents successfully matching into many specialties, while additional graduate degrees had no effect on matching into surgical specialties (range 0.64 to 1.2).
Although the statistical significance varied across specialties, higher USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores, AOA membership, research experience, and graduation from a top 40 NIH-funded medical school generally had a positive impact on match success to surgical residency for US allopathic seniors. Test preparation and seeking research experience during undergraduate medical education may be effective approaches for increasing the likelihood of success for US seniors matching into a surgical specialty.
PMCID: PMC2951766  PMID: 21976075
3.  Needs Assessment for Electrosurgery Training of Residents and Faculty in Obstetrics and Gynecology 
Background and Objectives:
Effective application of electrosurgical techniques requires knowledge of energy sources and electric circuits to produce desired tissue effects. A lack of electrosurgery knowledge may negatively affect patient outcomes and safety. Our objective was to survey obstetrics-gynecology trainees and faculty to assess their basic knowledge of electrosurgery concepts as a needs assessment for formal electrosurgery training.
We performed an observational study with a sample of convenience at 2 academic hospitals (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Mount Auburn Hospital). Grand rounds dedicated to electrosurgery teaching were conducted at each department of obstetrics and gynecology, where a short electrosurgery multiple-choice examination was administered to attendees.
The face validity of the test content was obtained from a gynecologic electrosurgery specialist. Forty-four individuals completed the examination. Test scores were analyzed by level of training to investigate whether scores positively correlated with more advanced career stages. The median test score was 45.5% among all participants (interquartile range, 36.4%–54.5%). Senior residents scored the highest (median score, 54.5%), followed by attendings (median score, 45.5%), junior residents and fellows (median score in both groups, 36.4%), and medical students (median score, 27.3%).
Although surgeons have used electrosurgery for nearly a century, it remains poorly understood by most obstetrician-gynecologists. Senior residents, attendings, junior residents, and medical students all show a general deficiency in electrosurgery comprehension. This study suggests that there is a need for formal electrosurgery training. A standardized electrosurgery curriculum with a workshop component demonstrating clinically useful concepts essential for safe surgical practice is advised.
PMCID: PMC4154422  PMID: 25392632
Electrosurgery; Surgical curriculum; Surgical teaching
4.  Using a Commercially Available Web-Based Evaluation System to Enhance Residents' Teaching 
Residents-as-teachers (RATs) programs have been shown to improve trainees' teaching skills, yet these decline over time.
We adapted a commercial Web-based system to maintain resident teaching skills through reflection and deliberate practice and assessed the system's ability to (1) prevent deterioration of resident teaching skills and (2) provide information to improve residents' teaching skills and teaching program quality.
Ten first-year obstetrics-gynecology (Ob-Gyn) residents participated in a RATs program. Following the program, they used a commercial evaluation system to complete self-assessments of their teaching encounters with medical students. Students also evaluated the residents. To assess the system's effectiveness, we compared these residents to historical controls with an Objective Structured Teaching Examination (OSTE) and analyzed the ratings and the free text comments of residents and students to explore teaching challenges and improve the RATs program.
The intervention group outscored the control group on the OSTE (mean score ± SD  =  81 ± 8 versus 74 ± 7; P  =  .05, using a 2-tailed Student t-test). Rating scale analysis showed resident self-assessments were consistently lower than student evaluations, with the difference reaching statistical significance in 3 of 6 skills (P < .05). Comments revealed that residents most valued using innovative teaching techniques, while students most valued a positive educational climate and interpersonal connections with residents. Recommended targets for RATs program improvement included teaching feedback, time-limited teaching, and modeling professionalism behaviors.
Our novel electronic Web-based reinforcement system shows promise in preventing deterioration of resident teaching skills learned during an Ob-Gyn RATs program. The system also was effective in gaining resident and student insights to improve RATs programs. Because our intervention was built upon a commercially available program, our approach could prove useful to the large population of current subscribers.
PMCID: PMC3312536  PMID: 23451309
5.  Evaluation of Infectious Disease Knowledge in Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Effects of Varying Durations of Training 
Objective: The amount, origin, and resources of infectious disease knowledge in the field ofobstetrics and gynecology were investigated. If this knowledge is lacking, the exact length of the specific infectious disease training during residency should be defined to meet the ever-increasing knowledge required in training.
Methods: A 50-question test was developed by one faculty member utilizing questions that incorporated the basic sciences of microbiology and pharmacology and clinical knowledge of infectious diseases in the area of obstetrics and gynecology. Multiple choice and matching questions were structured so as to ascertain the source of the knowledge, including medical school curriculum, recent journal articles, and clinical experience.
Results: The test was given yearly to all students and residents on the Obstetric and Gynecology Service over a period of 2 year's. The questions were the same for each group, but were reshuffled each exam period. Three hundred and seven tests were properly administered and recorded. There was no statistical improvement in any successive year’s scores unless specific infectious disease training occurred. Increasing improvement in scores was noted, with an increasing duration of infectious disease training specific for obstetrics and gynecology, beginning at 2 weeks (22% improvement), 4 weeks (30% improvement), and 6 weeks (31% improvement) (P = .05–.001). Basic science questions were most frequently answered correctly by medical students and early residents, while correctly answered clinical questions correlated with increasing clinical experience except in the area of ambulatory care.
Conclusions: The infectious disease knowledge of residents in obstetrics and gynecology can be improved with 4 weeks of intensive training. Re-exposure to basic science knowledge and improved training in ambulatory care in this resident group appear to be necessary. This test or similar tests can be helpful in defining areas of deficiencies and their possible remedies.
PMCID: PMC2364306  PMID: 18475330
6.  Should Osteopathic Students Applying to Allopathic Emergency Medicine Programs Take the USMLE Exam? 
Board scores are an important aspect of an emergency medicine (EM) residency application. Residency directors use these standardized tests to objectively evaluate an applicant’s potential and help decide whether to interview a candidate. While allopathic (MD) students take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), osteopathic (DO) students take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX). It is difficult to compare these scores. Previous literature proposed an equation to predict USMLE based on COMLEX. Recent analyses suggested this may no longer be accurate. DO students applying to allopathic programs frequently ask whether they should take USMLE to overcome this potential disadvantage. The objective of the study is to compare the likelihood to match of DO applicants who reported USMLE to those who did not, and to clarify how important program directors consider it is whether or not an osteopathic applicant reported a USMLE score.
We conducted a review of Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) data for 2010–2011 in conjunction with a survey of EM residency programs. We reviewed the number of allopathic and osteopathic applicants, the number of osteopathic applicants who reported a USMLE score, and the percentage of successful match. We compared the percentage of osteopathic applicants who reported a USMLE score who matched compared to those who did not report USMLE. We also surveyed allopathic EM residency programs to understand how important it is that osteopathic (DO) students take USMLE.
There were 1,482 MD students ranked EM programs; 1,277 (86%, 95% CI 84.3–87.9) matched. There were 350 DO students ranked EM programs; 181 (52%, 95% CI 46.4–57.0) matched (difference=34%, 95% CI 29.8–39.0, p<0.0001). There were 208 DO students reported USMLE; 126 (61%, 95% CI 53.6–67.2) matched. 142 did not report USMLE; 55 (39%, 95% CI 30.7–47.3) matched (difference=22%, 95% CI 11.2–32.5, p<0.0001). Survey results: 39% of program directors reported that it is extremely important that osteopathic students take USMLE, 38% stated it is somewhat important, and 22% responded not at all important.
DO students who reported USMLE were more likely to match. DO students applying to allopathic EM programs should consider taking USMLE to improve their chances of a successful match.
PMCID: PMC3935778  PMID: 24578773
7.  Residents as Role Models: The Effect of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship on Medical Students' Career Interest 
Medical students' choice of residency specialty is based in part on their clerkship experience. Postclerkship interest in a particular specialty is associated with the students' choice to pursue a career in that field. But, many medical students have a poor perception of their obstetrics and gynecology clerkships.
To determine whether fourth-year medical students' perceptions of teaching quality and quantity and amount of experiential learning during the obstetrics-gynecology clerkship helped determine their interest in obstetrics-gynecology as a career choice.
We distributed an anonymous, self-administered survey to all third-year medical students rotating through their required obstetrics and gynecology clerkship from November 2006 to May 2007. We performed bivariate analysis and used χ2 analysis to explore factors associated with general interest in obstetrics and gynecology and interest in pursuing obstetrics and gynecology as a career.
Eighty-one students (N  =  91, 89% response rate) participated. Postclerkship career interest in obstetrics and gynecology was associated with perceptions that the residents behaved professionally (P < .0001) and that the students were treated as part of a team (P  =  .008). Having clear expectations on labor and delivery procedures (P  =  .014) was associated with postclerkship career interest. Specific hands-on experiences were not statistically associated with postclerkship career interest. However, performing more speculum examinations in the operating room trended toward having some influence (P  =  .068). Although more women than men were interested in obstetrics and gynecology as a career both before (P  =  .027) and after (P  =  .014) the clerkship, men were more likely to increase their level of career interest during the clerkship (P  =  .024).
Clerkship factors associated with greater postclerkship interest include higher satisfaction with resident professional behavior and students' sense of inclusion in the clinical team. Obstetrics and gynecology programs need to emphasize to residents their role as educators and professional role models for medical students.
PMCID: PMC2951771  PMID: 21976080
8.  Visiting medical student elective and clerkship programs: a survey of US and Puerto Rico allopathic medical schools 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:41.
No published reports of studies have provided aggregate data on visiting medical student (VMS) programs at allopathic medical schools.
During 2006, a paper survey was mailed to all 129 allopathic medical schools in the United States and Puerto Rico using a list obtained from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Contents of the survey items were based on existing literature and expert opinion and addressed various topics related to VMS programs, including organizational aspects, program objectives, and practical issues. Responses to the survey items were yes-or-no, multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and free-text responses. Data related to the survey responses were summarized using descriptive statistics.
Representatives of 76 schools (59%) responded to the survey. Of these, 73 (96%) reported their schools had VMS programs. The most common reason for having a VMS program was "recruitment for residency programs" (90%). "Desire to do a residency at our institution" was ranked as the leading reason visiting medical students choose to do electives or clerkships. In descending order, the most popular rotations were in internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, emergency medicine, and pediatrics. All VMS programs allowed fourth-year medical students, and approximately half (58%) allowed international medical students. The most common eligibility requirements were documentation of immunizations (92%), previous clinical experience (85%), and successful completion of United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 (51%). Of the programs that required clinical experience, 82% required 33 weeks or more. Most institutions (96%) gave priority for electives and clerkships to their own students over visiting students, and a majority (78%) reported that visiting students were evaluated no differently than their own students. During academic year 2006-2007, the number of new resident physicians who were former visiting medical students ranged widely among the responding institutions (range, 0-76).
Medical schools' leading reason for having VMS programs is recruitment into residency programs and the most commonly cited reason students participate in these programs is to secure residency positions. However, further research is needed regarding factors that determine the effectiveness of VMS programs in residency program recruitment and the development of more universal standards for VMS eligibility requirements and assessment.
PMCID: PMC2893187  PMID: 20529301
9.  Out-of-Match Residency Offers: The Possible Extent and Implications of Prematching in Graduate Medical Education 
When the data from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) are used to analyze trends in medical students' career preferences, positions offered outside the match are omitted. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the extent and nature of out-of-match residency offers.
We obtained total resident complements and postgraduate year-1 positions offered in 7 specialties in 2007 and compared these with the 2007 NRMP match data. We compared the percentage of positions offered outside the match to “success” in matching United States medical doctors (USMDs) and to the availability of fellowship positions, using the Spearman rank order test (SROT).
A total of 18 030 postgraduate year-1 positions were offered in 9 specialty areas. Of 15 205 positions offered in the match, 54% were taken by USMDs. The percentage of outside-the-match offers was found to vary by specialty, from 7% in obstetrics-gynecology to 23% in internal medicine, and was inversely correlated with the specialty's “success” in matching USMDs (SROT  =  −0.87). The 3 nonprocedural primary care specialties (internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics) accounted for 10 091 (46.2%) of the 21 845 total positions offered in the match, with 4401 (43.6%) offered almost entirely to non-USMDs. Another 2467 positions were offered outside the match, resulting in 6868 positions offered to non-USMDs (55% of all primary care positions). In internal medicine, the percentage of outside-the-match offers was significantly and inversely associated with the availability of intrainstitutional fellowship programs (P < .0001). Prematching of independent applicants was significantly higher in primary care than in procedural-lifestyle programs (P < .0001).
The NRMP's match data do not account for positions filled outside the match, a finding that appears to be significant. In 2007, 1 in 5 positions in primary care was offered outside the match.
PMCID: PMC2951768  PMID: 21976077
10.  Subtest Scores From the In-Training Examination: An Evaluation Tool for an Obstetric-Anesthesia Rotation 
To evaluate resident performance in the obstetric-anesthesia rotation using resident portfolios and their In-Training Examination scores, which are provided by the American Board of Anesthesiology/American Society of Anesthesiologists.
We reviewed academic portfolios for second- and third-year anesthesiology residents at a single institution from 2006–2008 to examine United States Medical Licensing Exam Step 1 and 2 scores, grade for obstetrics-gynecology in medical school, and performance on the In-Training Examination. Faculty evaluation of medical knowledge and correlations for the various scores were obtained.
We examined scores for 43 residents. The subtest score for obstetric anesthesia increased after completing a rotation in obstetric anesthesia, 26.1 ± 10.3 versus 36.3 ± 10.6 (P  =  .02). The subtest score correlated with United States Medical Licensing Exam Step 2, r  =  0.46 (P  =  .027) but not with United States Medical Licensing Exam Step 1 or with the grade obtained in medical school. There was no correlation between faculty evaluations of medical knowledge and resident subtest scores in obstetric anesthesia.
Subtest scores in obstetric anesthesia are valid and provide a tool for the assessment of the educational program of a rotation. Knowledge as assessed by a faculty member is different from the knowledge assessed on a written examination. Both methods can help provide a more complete assessment of the resident and the rotation.
PMCID: PMC2941385  PMID: 21975629
11.  Factors affecting residency rank-listing: A Maxdiff survey of graduating Canadian medical students 
BMC Medical Education  2011;11:61.
In Canada, graduating medical students consider many factors, including geographic, social, and academic, when ranking residency programs through the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS). The relative significance of these factors is poorly studied in Canada. It is also unknown how students differentiate between their top program choices. This survey study addresses the influence of various factors on applicant decision making.
Graduating medical students from all six Ontario medical schools were invited to participate in an online survey available for three weeks prior to the CaRMS match day in 2010. Max-Diff discrete choice scaling, multiple choice, and drop-list style questions were employed. The Max-Diff data was analyzed using a scaled simple count method. Data for how students distinguish between top programs was analyzed as percentages. Comparisons were made between male and female applicants as well as between family medicine and specialist applicants; statistical significance was determined by the Mann-Whitney test.
In total, 339 of 819 (41.4%) eligible students responded. The variety of clinical experiences and resident morale were weighed heavily in choosing a residency program; whereas financial incentives and parental leave attitudes had low influence. Major reasons that applicants selected their first choice program over their second choice included the distance to relatives and desirability of the city. Both genders had similar priorities when selecting programs. Family medicine applicants rated the variety of clinical experiences more importantly; whereas specialty applicants emphasized academic factors more.
Graduating medical students consider program characteristics such as the variety of clinical experiences and resident morale heavily in terms of overall priority. However, differentiation between their top two choice programs is often dependent on social/geographic factors. The results of this survey will contribute to a better understanding of the CaRMS decision making process for both junior medical students and residency program directors.
PMCID: PMC3170644  PMID: 21867513
12.  Evaluating Professionalism, Practice-Based Learning and Improvement, and Systems-Based Practice: Utilization of a Compliance Form and Correlation with Conflict Styles 
The purpose of this article was to develop and determine the utility of a compliance form in evaluating and teaching the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competencies of professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice.
In 2006, we introduced a 17-item compliance form in an obstetrics and gynecology residency program. The form prospectively monitored residents on attendance at required activities (5 items), accountability of required obligations (9 items), and completion of assigned projects (3 items). Scores were compared to faculty evaluations of residents, resident status as a contributor or a concerning resident, and to the residents' conflict styles, using the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict MODE Instrument.
Our analysis of 18 residents for academic year 2007–2008 showed a mean (standard error of mean) of 577 (65.3) for postgraduate year (PGY)-1, 692 (42.4) for PGY-2, 535 (23.3) for PGY-3, and 651.6 (37.4) for PGY-4. Non-Hispanic white residents had significantly higher scores on compliance, faculty evaluations on interpersonal and communication skills, and competence in systems-based practice. Contributing residents had significantly higher scores on compliance compared with concerning residents. Senior residents had significantly higher accountability scores compared with junior residents, and junior residents had increased project completion scores. Attendance scores increased and accountability scores decreased significantly between the first and second 6 months of the academic year. There were positive correlations between compliance scores with competing and collaborating conflict styles, and significant negative correlations between compliance with avoiding and accommodating conflict styles.
Maintaining a compliance form allows residents and residency programs to focus on issues that affect performance and facilitate assessment of the ACGME competencies. Postgraduate year, behavior, and conflict styles appear to be associated with compliance. A lack of association with faculty evaluations suggests measurement of different perceptions of residents' behavior.
PMCID: PMC2951784  PMID: 21976093
13.  Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation's Combined Family Practice and Internal Medicine Residency Program 
The Ochsner Journal  2000;2(4):228-232.
The impact of managed care in the 1990s and the need for more broadly trained primary care physicians led the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Family Practice to explore ways to collaboratively train primary care physicians. One proposed solution was a combined residency incorporating the training curriculums of both boards in an integrated fashion. In 1995, the Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation Combined Family Practice and Internal Medicine Residency Program was one of the first to be approved by the two boards. The first residents began training in July 1996. Due to overlap in curriculums, completion for both boards is possible in 48 months as opposed to the 72 months a consecutive approach would require. The first graduates completed the program in July 2000.
The combined residents rotate on both the Family Practice inpatient service and the General Internal Medicine wards and participate in continuity care clinics and precepting in both core programs. Facilities for the program involve only existing clinics and administrative personnel. Residents serve as primary care physicians for a mixed ethnic, middle-class patient population atOchsner's New Orleans East satellite clinic, provide longitudinal obstetric and pediatric care at an inner city clinic, and complete a rural primary care rotation. Inservice examination scores have been consistently high with several combined residents scoring at the top United States level on both examinations. The program has matched with our highest ranked students over each year of the program despite a marked decline in US graduates entering primary care fields. Graduates of the combined program are ideal staff for either medical schools or residency programs of either core program.
While this residency is in its early stages, both boards have mandated an indepth evaluation to determine the quality and outcomes of training. The results of a recent survey of current Ochsner residents assessing their perceptions of the combined program were encouraging. We plan to track our graduates and compare them with recent graduates of the two core programs in order to document long-term impact.
PMCID: PMC3117509  PMID: 21765701
14.  "Making the grade:" noncognitive predictors of medical students' clinical clerkship grades. 
OBJECTIVES: Because clinical clerkship grades are associated with resident selection and performance and are largely based on residents'/attendings' subjective ratings, it is important to identify variables associated with clinical clerkship grades. METHODS: U.S. medical students who completed > or =1 of the following required clinical clerkships--internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, neurology and psychiatry--were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey, which inquired about demographics, degree program, perceived quality of clerkship experiences, assertiveness, reticence and clerkship grades. RESULTS: A total of 2395 medical students (55% women; 57% whites) from 105 schools responded. Multivariable logistic regression models identified factors independently associated with receiving lower clerkship grades (high pass/pass or B/C) compared with the highest grade (honors or A). Students reporting higher quality of clerkship experiences were less likely to report lower grades in all clerkships. Older students more likely reported lower grades in internal medicine (P = 0.02) and neurology (P < 0.001). Underrepresented minorities more likely reported lower grades in all clerkships (P < 0.001); Asians more likely reported lower grades in obstetrics/gynecology (P = 0.007), pediatrics (P = 0.01) and neurology (P = 0.01). Men more likely reported lower grades in obstetrics/gynecology (P < 0.001) and psychiatry (P = 0.004). Students reporting greater reticence more likely reported lower grades in internal medicine (P = 0.02), pediatrics (P = 0.02) and psychiatry (P < 0.05). Students reporting greater assertiveness less likely reported lower grades in all clerkships (P < 0.03) except IM. CONCLUSIONS: The independent associations between lower clerkship grades and nonwhite race, male gender, older age, lower quality of clerkship experiences, and being less assertive and more reticent are concerning and merit further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2574397  PMID: 17987918
15.  Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery: A Surgical Skills Assessment Tool in Gynecology 
This analysis suggests that the fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery skills test may be a valuable assessment tool for gynecology residents; however, the cognitive test may need further adaptation for application to gynecologists.
To describe our experience with the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) program as a teaching and assessment tool for basic laparoscopic competency among gynecology residents.
A prospective observational study was conducted at a single academic institution. Before the FLS program was introduced, baseline FLS testing was offered to residents and gynecology division directors. Test scores were analyzed by training level and self-reported surgical experience. After implementing a minimally invasive gynecologic surgical curriculum, third-year residents were retested.
The pass rates for baseline FLS skills testing were 0% for first-year residents, 50% for second-year residents, and 75% for third- and fourth-year residents. The pass rates for baseline cognitive testing were 60% for first- and second-year residents, 67% for third-year residents, and 40% for fourth-year residents. When comparing junior and senior residents, there was a significant difference in pass rates for the skills test (P=.007) but not the cognitive test (P=.068). Self-reported surgical experience strongly correlated with skills scores (r-value=0.97, P=.0048), but not cognitive scores (r-value=0.20, P=.6265). After implementing a curriculum, 100% of the third-year residents passed the skills test, and 92% passed the cognitive examination.
The FLS skills test may be a valuable assessment tool for gynecology residents. The cognitive test may need further adaptation for applicability to gynecologists.
PMCID: PMC3134690  PMID: 21902937
Surgical education; Simulation; Surgical assessment; Surgical curriculum
16.  The Importance of International Medical Rotations in Selection of an Otolaryngology Residency 
The objective of this study was to determine the extent of interest in international electives among prospective otolaryngology residents and to determine whether the availability of international electives affected students' interest in ranking a particular residency program.
A 3-part survey was given to all medical students enrolled in the 2008 otolaryngology match via the Electronic Residency Application Service. Part 1 elicited demographic information. Part 2 explored general interest in international rotations. Part 3 involved ranking several factors affecting students' choice of residency programs. This survey was developed at our institution, with no formal validation. Participation was anonymous and voluntary.
A total of 307 students entered the otolaryngology match, and 55 surveys (18%) were completed. Twenty-five of 55 students (55%) had completed an international elective during or prior to medical school, and 51 of 55 respondents (93%) had a “strong” or “very strong” desire to participate in an international elective during residency; 48 of 55 students (87%) had a “strong” or “very strong” desire to participate in international surgical missions after residency. Future practice goals had no correlation with interest in international rotations, either during or after residency training. Respondents ranked 8 factors that had an impact on residency program selection in the following order of importance: operative experience, location, lifestyle, research opportunities, didactics, international electives, prestige of program, and salary.
Interest in international medicine among prospective otolaryngologists was high in this subset of respondents but did not appear to affect residency program selection.
PMCID: PMC3179233  PMID: 22942976
17.  Association of Medical Students' Reports of Interactions with the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries and Medical School Policies and Characteristics: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(10):e1001743.
Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues compared US medical students' survey responses regarding pharmaceutical company interactions with the schools' AMSA PharmFree scorecard and Institute on Medicine as a Profession's (IMAP) scores.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Professional societies use metrics to evaluate medical schools' policies regarding interactions of students and faculty with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We compared these metrics and determined which US medical schools' industry interaction policies were associated with student behaviors.
Methods and Findings
Using survey responses from a national sample of 1,610 US medical students, we compared their reported industry interactions with their schools' American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and average Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database score. We used hierarchical logistic regression models to determine the association between policies and students' gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation. We adjusted for year in training, medical school size, and level of US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. We used LASSO regression models to identify specific policies associated with the outcomes. We found that IMAP and AMSA scores had similar median values (1.75 [interquartile range 1.50–2.00] versus 1.77 [1.50–2.18], adjusted to compare scores on the same scale). Scores on AMSA and IMAP shared policy dimensions were not closely correlated (gift policies, r = 0.28, 95% CI 0.11–0.44; marketing representative access policies, r = 0.51, 95% CI 0.36–0.63). Students from schools with the most stringent industry interaction policies were less likely to report receiving gifts (AMSA score, odds ratio [OR]: 0.37, 95% CI 0.19–0.72; IMAP score, OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.19–1.04) and less likely to interact with marketing representatives (AMSA score, OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.15–0.69; IMAP score, OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14–0.95) than students from schools with the lowest ranked policy scores. The association became nonsignificant when fully adjusted for NIH funding level, whereas adjusting for year of education, size of school, and publicly versus privately funded school did not alter the association. Policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus were associated with students reporting having not received gifts and having not interacted with marketing representatives. Policy dimensions reflecting the regulation of industry involvement in educational activities (e.g., continuing medical education, travel compensation, and scholarships) were associated with perceived separation between faculty and industry. The study is limited by potential for recall bias and the cross-sectional nature of the survey, as school curricula and industry interaction policies may have changed since the time of the survey administration and study analysis.
As medical schools review policies regulating medical students' industry interactions, limitations on receipt of gifts and meals and participation of faculty in speaking bureaus should be emphasized, and policy makers should pay greater attention to less research-intensive institutions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Making and selling prescription drugs and medical devices is big business. To promote their products, pharmaceutical and medical device companies build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, by organizing educational meetings and sponsored events, and by giving gifts. Financial relationships begin early in physicians' careers, with companies providing textbooks and other gifts to first-year medical students. In medical school settings, manufacturers may help to inform trainees and physicians about developments in health care, but they also create the potential for harm to patients and health care systems. These interactions may, for example, reduce trainees' and trained physicians' skepticism about potentially misleading promotional claims and may encourage physicians to prescribe new medications, which are often more expensive than similar unbranded (generic) drugs and more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than older drugs. To address these and other concerns about the potential career-long effects of interactions between medical trainees and industry, many teaching hospitals and medical schools have introduced policies to limit such interactions. The development of these policies has been supported by expert professional groups and medical societies, some of which have created scales to evaluate the strength of the implemented industry interaction policies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The impact of policies designed to limit interactions between students and industry on student behavior is unclear, and it is not known which aspects of the policies are most predictive of student behavior. This information is needed to ensure that the policies are working and to identify ways to improve them. Here, the researchers investigate which medical school characteristics and which aspects of industry interaction policies are most predictive of students' reported behaviors and beliefs by comparing information collected in a national survey of US medical students with the strength of their schools' industry interaction policies measured on two scales—the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers compared information about reported gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and the perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation collected from 1,610 medical students at 121 US medical schools with AMSA and IMAP scores for the schools evaluated a year earlier. Students at schools with the highest ranked interaction policies based on the AMSA score were 63% less likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools. Students at the highest ranked schools based on the IMAP score were about half as likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools, although this finding was not statistically significant (it could be a chance finding). Similarly, students at the highest ranked schools were 70% less likely to interact with sales representatives as students at the lowest ranked schools. These associations became statistically nonsignificant after controlling for the amount of research funding each school received from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Policies limiting gifts, meals, and being a part of speaking bureaus (where companies pay speakers to present information about the drugs for dinners and other events) were associated with students' reports of receiving no gifts and of non-interaction with sales representatives. Finally, policies regulating industry involvement in educational activities were associated with the perceived separation between faculty and industry, which was regarded as adequate by most of the students at schools with such policies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that policies designed to limit industry interactions with medical students need to address multiple aspects of these interactions to achieve changes in the behavior and attitudes of trainees, but that policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus may be particularly important. These findings also suggest that the level of NIH funding plays an important role in students' self-reported behaviors and their perceptions of industry, possibly because institutions with greater NIH funding have the resources needed to implement effective policies. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by recall bias (students may have reported their experiences inaccurately), and by the possibility that industry interaction policies may have changed in the year that elapsed between policy grading and the student survey. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that limitations on gifts should be emphasized when academic medical centers refine their policies on interactions between medical students and industry and that particular attention should be paid to the design and implementation of policies that regulate industry interactions in institutions with lower levels of NIH funding.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice document, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Information about the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Just Medicine campaign (formerly the PharmFree campaign) and about the AMSA Scorecard is available
Information about the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and about its Conflicts of Interest Policy Database is also available
“Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide” is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that medical schools can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion
The US Institute of Medicine's report “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice” recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The ALOSA Foundation provides evidence-based, non-industry-funded education about treating common conditions and using prescription drugs
PMCID: PMC4196737  PMID: 25314155
18.  Impact of the Medical Liability Crisis on Postresidency Training and Practice Decisions in Obstetrics-Gynecology 
The liability crisis may affect residency graduates' practice decisions, yet structured liability education during residency is still inadequate. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of medical liability on practice decisions and to evaluate the adequacy of current medical liability curricula.
All fourth-year residents (n  =  1274) in 264 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–accredited allopathic and 25 osteopathic US obstetrics and gynecology residency training programs were asked to participate in a survey about postgraduate plans and formal education during residency regarding liability issues in 2006. Programs were identified by the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology directory and the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists residency program registry. Outcome measures were the reported influence of liability/malpractice concerns on postresidency practice decision making and the incidence of formal education in liability/malpractice issues during residency.
A total of 506 of 1274 respondents (39.7%) returned surveys. Women were more likely than men to report “region of the country” (P  =  .02) and “paid malpractice insurance as a salaried employee” (P  =  .03) as a major influence. Of the respondents, 123 (24.3%) planned fellowship training, and 229 (45.3%) were considering limiting practice. More than 20% had been named in a lawsuit. Respondents cited Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York as locations to avoid. In response to questions about medical liability education, 54.3% reported formal education on risk management, and 65.2% indicated they had not received training on “next steps” after a lawsuit.
Residents identify liability-related issues as major influences when making choices about practice after training. Structured education on matters of medical liability during residency is still inadequate.
PMCID: PMC3399611  PMID: 23730440
19.  Are Away Rotations Critical for a Successful Match in Orthopaedic Surgery? 
Surveys have suggested one of the most important determinants of orthopaedic resident selection is completion of an orthopaedic clerkship at the program director’s institution. The purpose of this study was to further elucidate the significance of visiting externships on the resident selection process. We retrospectively reviewed data for all medical students applying for orthopaedic surgery residency from six medical schools between 2006 and 2008, for a total of 143 applicants. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were used to compare students who matched successfully versus those who did not in terms of number of away rotations, United States Medical Licensing Examination® scores, class rank, and other objective factors. Of the 143 medical students, 19 did not match in orthopaedics (13.3%), whereas the remaining 124 matched. On multiple logistic regression analysis, whether a student did more than one home rotation, how many away rotations a student performed, and United States Medical Licensing Examination® Step 1 score were factors in the odds of match success. Orthopaedic surgery is one of the most competitive specialties in medicine; the away rotation remains an important factor in match success.
PMCID: PMC2772936  PMID: 19582529
20.  Influence of Assigned Reading on Senior Medical Student Clinical Performance 
This Institutional Review Board-approved, prospective, observational study compared the clinical performance of senior medical students in an emergency medicine (EM) clerkship using a clinical behavioral evaluation tool in which one group had mandatory, topic specific readings and the other did not.
The study took place in an urban, tertiary referral center emergency department treating 43,000 patients annually and supporting medical student clerkships and an EM residency. The grades of two groups of senior medical students participating in an elective EM clerkship were compared. Those students during the 2002–2004 academic years were not assigned mandatory, topic-specific reading for the clerkship, while those during the 2004–2007 academic years were. The groups were compared on baseline demographic information, prior academic performance, and EM clerkship grade distributions using appropriate statistical techniques, including multinomial logistic regression, chi-square tests, and Fisher’s Exact tests.
The control and experimental groups each had 83 subjects and were similar in baseline characteristics, except for the control group performing better than the experimental group during the basic science training of medical school (years 1–2; p=0.01). The experimental group had statistically significant more members in the EM Interest Group (EMIG; p=0.0001) and more members who went on to match in an EM residency (p=0.0007). The difference in grade distributions between the control group and experimental group was not statistically significant (p=0.40). Of note, those student members of the EMIG (p=0.0005) and those later matching to an emergency medicine residency (p<0.0001) were more likely to earn a grade of “honors” for the clerkship.
The addition of uniform, topic-specific reading assignments to an EM senior medical student curriculum does not improve the overall clinical performance of those students as measured using a clinical behavioral evaluation tool.
PMCID: PMC2672302  PMID: 19561764
21.  Impact of a Physician-in-Triage Process on Resident Education 
Emergency department (ED) crowding negatively impacts patient care quality and efficiency. To reduce crowding many EDs use a physician-in-triage (PIT) process. However, few studies have evaluated the effect of a PIT processes on resident education. Our objective was to determine the impact of a PIT process implementation on resident education within the ED of an academic medical center.
We performed a prospective cross-sectional study for a 10-week period from March to June 2011, during operationally historic trended peak patient volume and arrival periods. Emergency medicine residents (three-year program) and faculty, blinded to the research objectives, were asked to evaluate the educational quality of each shift using a 5-point Likert scale. Residents and faculty also completed a questionnaire at the end of the study period assessing the perceived impact of the PIT process on resident education, patient care, satisfaction, and throughput. We compared resident and attending data using Mann-Whitney U tests.
During the study period, 54 residents and attendings worked clinically during the PIT process with 78% completing questionnaires related to the study. Attendings and residents indicated “no impact” of the PIT process on resident education [median Likert score of 3.0, inter-quartile range (IQR): 2–4]. There was no difference in attending and resident perceptions (p-value =0.18). Both groups perceived patient satisfaction to be “positively impacted” [4.0, IQR:2–4 for attendings vs 4.0, IQR:1–5 for residents, p-value =0.75]. Residents perceived more improvement in patient throughput to than attendings [3.5, IQR:3–4 for attendings vs 4.0, IQR:3–5 for residents, p-value =0.006]. Perceived impact on differential diagnosis generation was negative in both groups [2.0, IQR:1–3 vs 2.5, IQR:1–5, p-value = 0.42]. The impact of PIT on selection of diagnostic studies and medical decision making was negative for attendings and neutral for residents: [(2.0, IQR:1–3 vs 3.0, IQR:1–4, p-value =0.10) and (2.0, IQR:1–4 vs 3.0, IQR:1–5, p-value =0.14 respectively].
Implementation of a PIT process at an academic medical center was not associated with a negative (or positive) perceived impact on resident education. However, attendings and residents felt that differential diagnosis development was negatively impacted. Attendings also felt diagnostic test selection and medical decision-making learning were negatively impacted by the PIT process.
PMCID: PMC4251252  PMID: 25493151
22.  Facilitation of Resident Scholarly Activity: Strategy and Outcome Analyses Using Historical Resident Cohorts and a Rank-to-Match Population 
Anesthesiology  2014;120(1):111-119.
Facilitation of residents’ scholarly activities is indispensable to the future of medical specialties. Research education initiatives and their outcomes, however, have rarely been reported.
Since Academic Year (AY) 2006, research education initiatives, including research lectures, research problem based learning discussions, and an elective research rotation under a new research director’s supervision, have been used. The effectiveness of the initiatives was evaluated by comparing the number of residents and faculty mentors involved in residents’ research activity (Pre-initiative [2003 to 2006] vs. Post-initiative [2007 to 2011]). The residents’ current post-graduation practices were also compared. To minimize potential historical confounding factors, peer reviewed publications based on work performed during residency written by residents who graduated from the program in AY2009 to AY2011 were further compared with those of rank-to-match residents, who were on the residency ranking list during the same AYs and could have been matched with our program had they ranked it high enough on their list.
The Post-initiative group showed greater resident research involvement compared to the Pre-initiative group (89.2% [58 in 65 residents] vs. 64.8% [35 in 54], p=0.0013) and greater faculty involvement (23.9% [161 in 673 faculty/year] vs. 9.2% [55 in 595], p<0.0001). Choice of academic practice did not increase (50.8% [Post] vs. 40.7% [Pre], p=0.36). Graduated residents (n=38) published more often than the rank-to-match residents (n=220) (55.3% [21 residents] vs. 13.2% [29], p<0.0001, odds ratio 8.1 with 95% confidence interval of 3.9 to 17.2).
Research education initiatives increased residents’ research involvement.
PMCID: PMC3905449  PMID: 24212198
23.  Do Students’ and Authors’ Genders Affect Evaluations? A Linguistic Analysis of Medical Student Performance Evaluations 
Academic Medicine  2011;86(1):59-66.
Recent guidelines for the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) have standardized the “dean’s letter.” The authors examined MSPEs for linguistic differences according to student or author gender.
This 2009 study analyzed 297 MSPEs for 227 male and 70 female medical students applying to a diagnostic radiology residency program. Text analysis software identified word counts, categories, frequencies, and contexts; factor analysis detected patterns of word categories in student–author gender pairings.
Analyses showed a main effect for student gender (P=.046) and a group difference for the author–student gender combinations (P=.048). Female authors of male student MSPEs used the fewest “positive emotion” words (P=.006). MSPEs by male authors were shorter than those by females (P=.014). MSPEs for students ranked in the National Resident Matching Program contained more “standout” (P=.002) and “positive emotion” (P=.001) words. There were no differences in the author–gender pairs in the proportion of students ranked, although predominant word categories differed by author and student gender. Factor analysis revealed differences among the author–student groups in patterns of correlations among word categories.
MSPEs differed slightly but significantly by student and author gender. These differences may derive from societal norms for male and female behaviors and the subsequent linguistic interpretation of these behaviors, which itself may be colored by the observer’s gender. Although the differences in MSPEs did not seem to influence students’ rankings, this work underscores the need for awareness of the complex effects of gender in evaluating students and guiding their specialty choices.
PMCID: PMC3321359  PMID: 21099389
24.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
25.  Awareness of Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology Among Residents and Residency Directors 
Awareness of the subspecialty of infectious diseases in obstetrics and gynecology is low among United States residents and residency directors. Objective. Given the burden of infectious diseases on women's health, we sought to assess current awareness, interest, and perceived value of the subspecialty of infectious diseases in obstetrics and gynecology among current United States obstetrics and gynecology residents and residency directors. Methods. Two separate surveys addressing awareness, perceived value and interest in the subspecialty were sent to (1) a random 20% sample of obstetrics and gynecology residents and (2) all obstetrics and gynecology residency directors. Results. Seventy percent of the residency directors were familiar with the subspecialty and 67.0% placed value on infectious disease specialists in an academic department. Thirty percent of the residents reported awareness of the subspecialty. Thirty-six percent of residency directors reported that medical infectious disease specialists deliver formal education to the obstetrics and gynecology residents. Conclusion. United States obstetrics and gynecology residents and residency directors have a low awareness of the subspecialty. An open niche exists for formal education of residents in infectious diseases in obstetrics and gynecology by department specialists. These findings can be incorporated into ongoing recruitment efforts for the subspecialty of infectious diseases in obstetrics and gynecology.
PMCID: PMC1779608  PMID: 17485801

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