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Studies Find Residency Requirements Have Different Effects On Patient Mortality

Armen Hareyan's picture

Patient Mortality

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Researchers have found that new national regulations greatly limiting work hours for physicians-in-training did not lead to increased patient deaths.

Critics of the new regulations were concerned that the new regulations could hurt patient care. In order to address issues surrounding sleep deprivation of medical residents, recently implemented regulations required them to work fewer hours, resulting in fewer residents on call at any one time and more patient handoffs due to shorter resident schedules. Analyzing over 8 million patient hospitalizations in the Medicare system and over 300,000 hospitalizations in the United States Veterans Affairs (VA) System, the Penn investigators found that duty hour regulations for medical residents in the VA System significantly improved patient mortality; yet these regulations were not associated with either significant worsening or improvement in mortality for Medicare patients. The studies