Studies: Resident shift limits don't lower mortality

Over the past several months, I've reported on a few studies which suggest that long shifts for physician-trainees breed medical errors. Now, some new studies have come to fruition which argue against that conclusion.

The new studies, which appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that while death rates dropped for one group of patients when residents' hours were limited, deaths didn't drop for three other patient groups. The studies included 318,000 VA patients and more than 8.5 million Medicare patients seen at hospitals across the U.S.

Right now, new work-hour rules require that physician-trainees can only work 80 hours per week. Before this, residents could end up working 100 hours in a week, and sometimes took 36 hour shifts. However, some observers suggest that the rules may not be strictly observed in many hospitals, which could have a meaningful impact on the results.

To learn more about this research:
- read this Associated Press piece

Related Articles:
Med school faculty fret over cutting resident hours. Report
Cutting resident hours could cost big bucks. Report
Long hospital shifts boost mistakes. Report
Lawmakers want study of doc hours, error rates. Report

Suggested Articles

The profit margins and management of Community Health Group raise questions about oversight of managed care insurers.

Financial experts are warning practices about the pitfalls of promoting medical credit cards to their patients.

A proposed rule issued by HHS on Tuesday would expand short-term coverage, a move Seema Verma said will have "virtually no impact" on ACA premiums.