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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

A systematic review of the effects of resident duty hour restrictions in surgery: impact on resident wellness, training, and patient outcomes.

Ahmed N, Devitt KS, Keshet I, et al. Annals of surgery. 2014;259:1041-53.

The 2011 duty hour regulations for resident physicians were intended to improve patient safety by reducing resident fatigue. Examining the effects of duty-hours reform on surgical trainees, this systematic review concluded that there were no improvements in patient outcomes. Both perceived education and performance on certification exams have declined following reform, and more frequent handoffs have led to safety concerns. Even though some improvements in residents' quality of life were observed after the first duty-hours reform, the subsequent limitation of 16-hour shifts has not enhanced well-being. The authors express concern about current surgery residency training and urge caution prior to reforming graduate medical education further. A previous AHRQ WebM&M perspective explored the impact of duty hours on patient safety.