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Curr Surg. 2005 Mar-Apr;62(2):231-6.

Residency reform: anticipated effects of ACGME guidelines on general surgery and internal medicine residency programs.

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Department of Surgery, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, PA 18105, USA.



The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has recently amended guidelines for resident work environment. This study was conducted to evaluate opinions of program directors regarding the impact of the changes on residents and residency programs.


General surgery and internal medicine program directors were sent a 19-question survey. Questions were asked regarding anticipated effects on patient safety, resident well-being, education, medical errors, implementation costs, and methods needed for compliance. Data were analyzed using the chi-square test, the Mann-Whitney method, and the independent samples t-test where appropriate.


Responses were received from 153 surgery program directors and 126 medicine program directors. Differences noted were hours worked (surgery 84.2 hours vs medicine 68.7 hours, p < 0.0005), current compliance (49% vs 73%, p < 0.0005), and allowance of internal (13% vs 54%, p < 0.0005) and external (24% vs 58%, p < 0.0005) moonlighting.


Program directors anticipate improved resident safety and well-being. However, education, continuity of care, and board certification success are not expected to improve. Increased cost to institutions is anticipated. Surgery program directors feel medical errors will not decrease; medicine program directors are neutral. To facilitate compliance, surgery program directors anticipate employing physicians' assistants and technology, whereas medicine program directors may implement night float. Neither surgery nor medicine program directors expects increased quantity or quality of applicants. Program directors agree resident work hour reform is essential; however, varied methodology and outcomes are expected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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