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Curr Surg. 2006 Jan-Feb;63(1):74-9.

Impact of resident duty-hour reform on faculty clinical productivity.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.



Prior data have shown that resident duty-hour reform has not affected faculty work hours; yet the preservation of faculty hours may have been at the expense of productivity. We sought to examine change in clinical productivity.


Anonymous survey and analysis of faculty relative value units (RVU) database.


A single, large academic medical center.


All clinical faculty in the Department of Surgery.


An anonymous survey was distributed to surgical faculty 18 months after reform and compared with surveys taken before and after reform. Opinions regarding productivity and working hours were solicited. P values were determined by chi-square or Student t-tests. Relative value unit data, reflecting clinical productivity, were compared before and after reform. Regression was performed with dependent variable "lnRVU" and independent variables "calendar month," "pre/post" July 2003, and "surgeon." The coefficient on "pre/post" reflected average change in RVUs.


A total of 49 of 73 surveys were returned (67% response). Faculty reported an average of 68.0+/-7.0 weekly work hours (p=NS compared with previous survey). In the current survey, 35% felt their overall productivity had fallen due to reform. Among these, 83% felt academic productivity had suffered, 11% were unsure, and 1 person (6%) believed academic productivity was preserved. The majority (82%) reported preserved clinical productivity, 6% reported a decrease, and 12% were unsure. Overall, 60% reported doing work previously done by residents. When RVU data were examined, the coefficient on change pre- and post-reform indicated a 5.7% increase in productivity (p=0.005). However, this effect was driven by 5 surgeons with a greater than 75% increase in productivity, all young faculty, early in practice. Excluding these, there was no significant change (0.6% increase, p=0.77).


Faculty have preserved work hours and clinical productivity, despite a tendency to take on work previously done by residents. This suggests that academic activities may have suffered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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