Effect of the new standards for case logging on resident operative volume: doing better cases or better numbers?
ABSTRACT The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) modified the designation of major (index) operative cases to include those previously considered "minor." This study assessed the potential effect of these changes on resident operative experience.
With Institutional Review Board approval, we analyzed National Surgical Quality Improvement Program participant use files for 2005-2008 for general and vascular surgery cases. Primary CPT case coding was mapped to the ACGME major case category using both the old and new classification schemes. The variables were analyzed using χ(2) analysis in SPSS IBM 19 (IBM, Armonk, New York).
A total of 576,019 cases were reviewed. Major cases as defined by the new classification represented an increasing proportion of the cases each year, rising from 88.3% in 2005 to 95% by 2008 (p < 0.001). Major cases as defined by the old scheme decreased from 71% in 2005 to 62% by 2008 (p < 0.001). The cases covered by a resident dropped from 82% in 2005 to 61% in 2008 (p < 0.001). When comparing the new to the old scheme, 364,366 (63.3%) cases were considered major and 30,587 (5.3%) were minor by both standards; 7089 (1.2%) cases previously classified as major were changed to minor, whereas 173,977 (30.2%) (p < 0.001) previously classified as minor were now major. This latter group showed top procedures to include excision of breast lesion (22,175 [12.7%]), laparoscopic gastric bypass (18,825 [10.8%]), ventral hernia repair (14,732 [8.5%]), and appendectomy (10,190 [5.9%]). Of these newly designated major cases, the proportion not covered by residents increased from 22% in 2005 to 44% in 2007 and 2008 (p < 0.001).
Although some operative cases newly classified as major are technically advanced procedures (eg, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass), other cases are not (eg, breast lesion excision), which raises the issue as to whether the major case category has been diluted by less demanding case types. The implications of these findings may suggest preservation of case volumes at the expense of case quality.