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J Surg Educ. 2009 Nov-Dec;66(6):379-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2009.04.003.

Use of text messaging to enhance compliance with the accreditation council for graduate medical education resident duty hour requirements.

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Department of Surgery, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York 11219, USA. <>



Recently, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has developed and enforced a complex set of regulations limiting resident duty hours (RDHs). One potential method to comply with these stringent regulations and better document resident work hours would be to use text message (TM)/short message service (SMS), allowing rapid, inexpensive, and interactive 2-way delivery of information. The purpose of this study was to document the successful implementation of TM to enhance compliance with the ACGME RDH regulations.


Our TM system uses TSHEETS (TS; Meridian, Ohio), which is an online time- and labor-management service. After our general surgical residents were registered with the system, the documentation of entry into (texting "t start" to a predetermined number) and exit out of (texting "t stop" to the same number) the hospital could easily be accomplished. The goals of this pilot study were to determine (1) the feasibility of implementing a program such as this and (2) if use of such a program was associated with high resident satisfaction and improved compliance.


We registered 39 residents with TS. Within 3 days, compliance rose from 76.9% to 96.2%. After implementation of TM reminders, compliance increased to 100%. A time-tracking resident satisfaction survey was distributed after 8 weeks of data collection. Twenty six of 39 (67%) residents participated in the survey, with 25 (96%) being more satisfied with the current application as compared with either of the previous (manual or swipe card) systems, specifically regarding ease of use and overall ACGME RDH compliance. Self-reported resident scores of their ability to be compliant with ACGME RDH before versus after implementation increased from 47% to 75% (p < 0.05).


We were able to implement successfully a novel technique for ACGME RDH documentation and compliance in a general surgery residency program through the use of TM; this approach employed a state-of-the-art time-tracking method that was associated with high levels of resident work-hour compliance and overall satisfaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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