Journal Article

Rate of undesirable events at beginning of academic year: retrospective cohort study.

Haller G; Myles PS; Taffé P; Perneger TV; Wu CL.

The so-called July phenomenon, in which errors are supposedly more common in July due to an influx of inexperienced residents and students, has long been a source of gallows humor in hospitals. Although prior studies have reached mixed conclusions, this Australian study of anesthesia errors did find a significant increase in preventable adverse events for procedures performed by trainees during the first 4 months of the academic year. Interestingly, error rates were higher for trainees at all levels, not just first-year residents. This finding implies that underlying systems issues as well as clinical inexperience resulted in adverse events. An accompanying editorial calls for revising training models in order to provide adequate supervision and support for new trainees. A case of inadvertent hypoglycemia resulting from an intern's lack of familiarity with insulin ordering at his new hospital is discussed in an AHRQ WebM&M commentary.