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J Am Coll Surg. 2016 Jun;222(6):984-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2016.01.009. Epub 2016 Feb 22.

The Impact of the 2011 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Duty Hour Reform on Quality and Safety in Trauma Care.

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Department of Surgery, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI. Electronic address:
Department of Surgery, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI; Department of Surgery, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI.



In 2011, the ACGME limited duty hours for residents. Although studies evaluating the 2011 policy have not shown improvements in general measures of morbidity or mortality, these outcomes might not reflect changes in specialty-specific practice patterns and secondary quality measures.


All trauma admissions from July 2009 through June 2013 at an academic Level I trauma center were evaluated for 5 primary outcomes (eg, mortality and length of stay), and 10 secondary quality measures and practice patterns (eg, operating room [OR] visits). All variables were compared before and after the reform (July 1, 2011). Piecewise regression was used to study temporal trends in quality.


There were 11,740 admissions studied. The reform was not strongly associated with changes in any primary outcomes except length of stay (7.98 to 7.36 days; p = 0.01). However, many secondary quality metrics changed. The total number of OR and bedside procedures per admission (6.72 to 7.34; p < 0.001) and OR visits per admission (0.76 to 0.91; p < 0.001) were higher in the post-reform group, representing an additional 9,559 procedures and 1,584 OR visits. Use of minor bedside procedures, such as laboratory and imaging studies, increased most significantly.


Although most major outcomes were unaffected, quality of care might have changed after the reform. Indeed, a consistent change in resource use patterns was manifested by substantial post-reform increases in measures such as bedside procedures and OR visits. No secondary quality measures exhibited improvements strongly associated with the reform. Several factors, including attending oversight, might have insulated major outcomes from change. Our findings show that some less-commonly studied quality metrics related to costs of care changed after the 2011 reform at our institution.

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