[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
Fuelled by concerns about resident health and patient safety, there is a general trend in many jurisdictions toward limiting the maximum duration of consecutive work to between 14 and 16 hours. The goal of this article is to assist institutions and residency programs to make a smooth transition from the previous 24- to 36-hour call system to this new model. We will first give an overview of the main types of coverage systems and their relative merits when considering various aspects of patient care and resident pedagogy. We will then suggest a practical step-by-step approach to designing, implementing, and monitoring a scheduling system centred on clinical and educational needs in the context of resident duty hour reform. The importance of understanding the impetus for change and of assessing the need for overall workflow restructuring will be explored throughout this process. Finally, as a practical example, we will describe a large, university-based teaching hospital network's transition from a traditional call-based system to a novel schedule that incorporates the new 16-hour duty limit.
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