Patient Safety in the Era of the 80-Hour Workweek

Journal of Surgical Education (Impact Factor: 1.38). 04/2014; 71(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2013.12.011
Source: PubMed


In 2003, duty-hour regulations (DHR) were initially implemented for residents in the United States to improve patient safety and protect resident's well-being. The effect of DHR on patient safety remains unclear. The study objective was to evaluate the effect of DHR on patient safety.
Using an interrupted time series analysis, we analyzed selected patient safety indicators (PSIs) for 376 million discharges in teaching (T) vs nonteaching (NT) hospitals before and after implementation of DHR in 2003 that restricted resident work hours to 80 hours per week. The PSIs evaluated were postoperative pulmonary embolus or deep venous thrombosis (PEDVT), iatrogenic pneumothorax (PTx), accidental puncture or laceration, postoperative wound dehiscence (WD), postoperative hemorrhage or hematoma, and postoperative physiologic or metabolic derangement. Propensity scores were used to adjust for differences in patient comorbidities between T and NT hospitals and between discharge quarters. The primary outcomes were differences in the PSI rates before and after DHR implementation. The PSI differences between T and NT institutions were the secondary outcome.
T and NT hospitals in the United States.
Participants were 376 million patient discharges from 1998 to 2007 in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample.
Declining rates of PTx in both T and NT hospitals preintervention slowed only in T hospitals postintervention (p = 0.04). Increasing PEDVT rates in both T and NT hospitals increased further only in NT hospitals (p = 0.01). There were no differences in the PSI rates over time for hemorrhage or hematoma, physiologic or metabolic derangement, accidental puncture or laceration, or WD. T hospitals had higher rates than NT hospitals both preintervention and postintervention for all the PSIs except WD.
Trends in rates for 2 of the 6 PSIs changed significantly after DHR implementation, with PTx rates worsening in T hospitals and PEDVT rates worsening in NT hospitals. Lack of consistent patterns of change suggests no measurable effect of the policy change on these PSIs.

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