New limits on medical-resident work hours go into effect July 1, but a group of more than two dozen healthcare and patient-safety leaders, researchers and activists concluded that new rules such as restricting first-year residents to 16-hour shifts "stop considerably short" of what the Institute of Medicine called for to make healthcare safer.
Report: New resident work-hour rules don't go far enough
In a report that appears in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep, a diverse group of co-authors that includes Dr. Lucian Leape, adjunct professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Helen Haskell, founder of Mothers Against Medical Error, advocates for limiting doctors in training to 12- to 16-hour shifts, requiring a minimum of 10 hours between shifts and linking Medicare funding for residents to adhering to the Institute of Medicine recommendations and not the rules put in place by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
"Few people enter a hospital expecting that their care and safety are in the hands of someone who has been working a double-shift or more with no sleep," Leape said in a news release. "If they knew, and had a choice, the overwhelming majority would demand another doctor or leave."
The report outlines the discussions that took place regarding the IOM recommendations at a conference held last June at Harvard Medical School.
"The biggest obstacle to change is culture," the authors concluded. "The profession needs to reconsider what it means to be a professional in the age of teamwork, e.g., the 'lone provider' versus team responsibility for the patient."
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