Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Gen Intern Med. 2011 Aug;26(8):907-19. doi: 10.1007/s11606-011-1657-1. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

Patient safety, resident education and resident well-being following implementation of the 2003 ACGME duty hour rules.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, Milwaukee VAMC/ Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53295, USA.



The ACGME-released revisions to the 2003 duty hour standards.


To review the impact of the 2003 duty hour reform as it pertains to resident and patient outcomes.


Medline (1989-May 2010), Embase (1989-June 2010), bibliographies, pertinent reviews, and meeting abstracts.


We included studies examining the relationship between the pre- and post-2003 time periods and patient outcomes (mortality, complications, errors), resident education (standardized test scores, clinical experience), and well-being (as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory). We excluded non-US studies.


One rater used structured data collection forms to abstract data on study design, quality, and outcomes. We synthesized the literature qualitatively and included a meta-analysis of patient mortality.


Of 5,345 studies identified, 60 met eligibility criteria. Twenty-eight studies included an objective outcome related to patients; 10 assessed standardized resident examination scores; 26 assessed resident operative experience. Eight assessed resident burnout. Meta-analysis of the mortality studies revealed a significant improvement in mortality in the post-2003 time period with a pooled odds ratio (OR) of 0.9 (95% CI: 0.84, 0.95). These results were significant for medical (OR 0.91; 95% CI: 0.85, 0.98) and surgical patients (OR 0.86; 95% CI: 0.75, 0.97). However, significant heterogeneity was present (I(2) 83%). Patient complications were more nuanced. Some increased in frequency; others decreased. Outcomes for resident operative experience and standardized knowledge tests varied substantially across studies. Resident well-being improved in most studies.


Most studies were observational. Not all studies of mortality provided enough information to be included in the meta-analysis. We used unadjusted odds ratios in the meta-analysis; statistical heterogeneity was substantial. Publication bias is possible.


Since 2003, patient mortality appears to have improved, although this could be due to secular trends. Resident well-being appears improved. Change in resident educational experience is less clear.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk