Remediation Programs Linked To Reduced Attrition Among Surgical Residents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Christian de Virgilio, MD LA BioMed lead researcher and corresponding author for the study He also is the former director of the general surgery residency program Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and the recipient of several teaching awards.

Dr. de Virgilio

Christian de Virgilio, MD
LA BioMed lead researcher and corresponding author for the study
He also is the former director of the general surgery residency program
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and the recipient of several teaching awards.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Recent forecasts have predicted the United States will have a deficit of as many as 29,000 surgeons by 2030 because of the expected growth in the nation’s population and the aging of the Baby Boomers. This expected shortfall in surgeons has made the successful training of the next generation of surgeons even more important than it was before. Yet recent studies have shown that as many as one in five general surgery residents leave their training programs before completion to pursue other specialties.

Our team of researchers studied 21 training programs for general surgeons and published our findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association Surgery (JAMA Surgery) on August 16, 2017. What we found was the attrition rate among residents training in general surgery was lower than previously determined – just 8.8% instead of 20% – in the 21 programs we surveyed. Our study also found that program directors’ attitudes and support for struggling residents and resident education were significantly different when the authors compared high- and low-attrition programs.

General surgeons specialize in the most common surgical procedures, including abdominal, trauma, gastrointestinal, breast, cancer, endocrine and skin and soft tissue surgeries. General surgery residency training follows medical school and generally requires five to seven years. The programs are offered through universities, university affiliated hospitals and independent programs.

In this study, the research team surveyed 12 university-based programs, three program affiliated with a university and six independent programs. In those programs, 85 of the 966 general surgery residents failed to complete their training during the five-year period the research team studied, July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2015. Of those who failed to complete their general surgery training, 15 left during the first year of training; 34 during the second year, and 36 during the third year or later.

Notably, we found a nearly seven-fold difference between the training program with the lowest attrition rate, 2.2%, and the one with the highest rate, 14.3%, over the five-year period surveyed. In the programs with lower attrition rates, we found about one in five residents received some support or remediation to help ensure they would complete their https://medicalresearch.com/author-interviews/reduction_in_surgical_residents_work_hours/4475/ In the programs with higher attrition rates, the research team reported that only about one in 15 residents received such remediation. Continue reading

Medical School Curriculum Aims To Overcome Physician Bias Against Obese Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gregory Gayer, PhD Associate Professor Chair of Basic Science Department TUCOM California

Dr. Gayer

Gregory Gayer, PhD
Associate Professor
Chair of Basic Science Department
TUCOM California 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The prevalence of obesity in the United States continues to be a growing and remains a major health concern.  Closely associated with obesity is an extensive list of chronic diseases, including hypertension, dyslipidemia, and type 2 diabetes.  Unfortunately, physician bias against obese people may create a self-defeating environment that can produce less effective communication in a manner that could reduce the patient’s willingness to participate in their own health. Our overall goal is to prepare future physicians to appropriately engage the obese patient in order to optimize health care delivery.

This study was initiated in response to the ever increasing demand on the medical profession to properly care for the obese patient. We demonstrated that medical students have the same inherent bias as other health care providers and this bias can be sustainably reduced by education. We hope that this reduction in bias shown in medical school will enable students to be better prepared to address the concerns of their obese patients and ultimately translate into better clinical outcomes for them.

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Sweat Sensors Can Guage Surgical Residents’ Confidence With Procedures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jacob Quick, M.D.</strong> Assistant professor of acute care surgery University of Missouri School of Medicine Dr. Quick also serves as a trauma surgeon at MU Health Care.

Dr. Quick

Jacob Quick, M.D.
Assistant professor of acute care surgery
University of Missouri School of Medicine
Dr. Quick also serves as a trauma surgeon at MU Health Care.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: During five to seven years of surgical training, surgical faculty determine the level of clinical competency, confidence and decision-making skills of each resident physician through personal observations. This skill evaluation is based on a subjective assessment, which essentially is a gut feeling.

We monitored electrodermal activity, or EDA, using dermal sensors on the wrists of residents while they performed laparoscopic cholecystectomies. Our initial findings indicated that at crucial points during the procedures, residents’ EDA increased as much as 20 times more than experienced faculty performing the same surgery. However, over the course of the study, and as their proficiency developed, surgical residents’ EDA levels began to lower in accordance with their experience. Continue reading

VR/AR May Help Physicians Overcome Cognitive Biases To Admitting Errors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jason Han, MD Resident, Cardiothoracic Surgery Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Han

Jason Han, MD
Resident, Cardiothoracic Surgery
Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The inspiration for this study comes from my personal experience as a medical student on clinical rotations. Despite having been a victim of a medical error while growing up myself, I found it extraordinarily difficult to admit to even some of my smallest errors to my patients and team. Perplexed by the psychological barriers that impeded error disclosure, I began to discuss this subject with my advisory Dean and mentor, Dr. Neha Vapiwala. We wanted to analyze the topic more robustly through an academic lens and researched cognitive biases that must be overcome in order to facilitate effective disclosure of error, and began to think about potential ways to implement these strategies into the medical school curriculum with the help of the director of the Standardized Patient program at the Perelman School of Medicine, Denise LaMarra.

We ultimately contend that any educational strategy that aims to truly address and improve error disclosure must target the cognitive roots of this paradigm. And at this point in time, simulation-based learning seems to be the most direct way to do so, but also remain hopeful that emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality may offer ways for students as well as staff to rehearse difficult patient encounters and improve.

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Study Compares Appendectomy Outcomes Between General Surgeons and Surgical Residents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Haggi Mazeh, MD, FACS
Endocrine and General Surgery
Department of Surgery
Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Israel 91240

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The level of operating room autonomy given to surgical residents varies greatly between different institutions and different countries. On one hand, providing residents the opportunity to operate alone augments their confidence and their sense of responsibility, possibly accelerating their learning process. On the other hand, it may be argued that the presence of a senior general surgeon in every operation is a safer approach.

Before 2012, a large proportion of appendectomies at our institution were performed by surgical residents alone. After 2012, our institutional policy changed to require the presence of a senior general surgeon in every appendectomy case. This unique situation provided us the opportunity to compare the outcomes of appendectomies performed by residents alone to those performed in the presence of a senior general surgeon.

Our study demonstrated no difference in the complication rates between the two groups of patients. However, surgeries performed in the presence of senior general surgeons were significantly shorter than those performed by residents.

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Study Validates Good Quality Care Provided By Foreign-Trained Doctors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Research Associate at Department of Health Policy and Management Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa

Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD
Research Associate at Department of Health Policy and Management
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior evidence has been mixed as to whether or not patient outcomes
differ between U.S. and foreign medical graduates.

However, previous studies used small sample sizes or data from a small number of states.
Therefore, it was largely unknown how international medical graduates
perform compared with US medical graduates.

To answer this question, we analyzed a nationally representative
sample of Medicare beneficiaries admitted to hospitals with a medical
condition in 2011-2014. Our sample included approximately 1.2 million
hospitalizations treated by 40,000 physicians. After adjusting for
severity of illness of patients and hospitals (we compared physicians
within the same hospital), we found that patient treated by
international medical graduates had lower mortality than patients
cared for by US medical graduates (adjusted 30-day mortality rate
11.2% vs 11.6%, p<0.001). We observed no difference in readmissions,
whereas costs of care was slightly higher for international medical
graduates.

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Medical Residents Spend More Time Working on Electronic Medical Records than With Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dresse Nathalie Wenger

Cheffe de clinique
FMH médecine interne
Département de Médecine Interne
CHUV – Lausanne 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The structure of a residents’ working day dramatically changed during the last decades (limitation of working hours per week, wide implementation of electronic medical records (EMR), and growing volume of clinical data and administrative tasks), especially in internal medicine with increasing complexity of patients. Electronic Medical Records (EMR) have some positive effects but negative effects have been also described ie more time writing notes, more administrative works, and less time for communication between physicians and patients.

Few time motion studies have been published about the resident’s working day in Internal Medicine: the impact of the computer, and what really do the residents do during their work, especially the time spent with the patient versus the computer, as now the EMRs are widely implemented. Previous studies have been mostly performed in the US, so we decided to conduct one observational and objective study in Europe.

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Women Leave General Surgery Residencies For Better Lifestyle Specialties

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mohammed Al-Omran, MD, MSc, FRCSC Head, Division of Vascular Surgery St. Michael’s Hospital Professor, Department of Surgery University of Toronto

Dr. Mohammed Al-Omran

Mohammed Al-Omran, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Head, Division of Vascular Surgery
St. Michael’s Hospital
Professor, Department of Surgery
University of Toronto

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: General surgery residency is among the most demanding clinical training programs in medicine. Several studies have suggested surgical residents have a relatively high attrition rate; however, no study has systematically reviewed the overall prevalence and causes of attrition among general surgery residents.

We included over 20 studies representing 19,821 general surgery residents in our review. Most studies were from the US. We found the pooled estimate of attrition prevalence among general surgery residents was 18%. Female residents were more likely to leave than male (25% versus 15%), and residents were most likely to leave after their first training year (48%). Departing residents most commonly switched to another medical specialty (such as anaesthesia, plastic surgery, radiology or family medicine) or relocated to another general surgery program. The most common causes of attrition were uncontrollable lifestyle (range of 18% to 88%) and transferring to another specialty (range of 18% to 39%).

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Recommended Medical Handoff Strategies Remain Underutilized

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Charlie M. Wray, DO, MS Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine University of California, San Francisco | Department of Medicine San Francisco VA Medical Center

Dr. Charlie Wray

Charlie M. Wray, DO, MS
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco Department of Medicine
San Francisco VA Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Since the establishment of residency duty hour regulations in 2010, which subsequently lead to increased discontinuity of inpatient care and more resident shift work, educators and researchers have attempted to establish which shift handoff technique(s) or strategies work best.

National organizations, such as the ACGME, AHRQ, and the Joint Commission have made specific recommendations that are considered “best practice”. In our study, using an annual national survey given to Internal Medicine Program Directors, we examined the degree of implementation of these recommended handoff strategies and the proportion of Program Director satisfaction with each of the respective strategies.

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End of Resident Rotation May Be Risky Time For Hospitalized Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joshua L Denson MD Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine

Dr. Joshua Denson

Joshua L Denson MD
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
University of Colorado School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Miscommunication during physician transition in care has been associated with adverse patient events and medical errors; however, an understudied topic is the transition in care that occurs each month when resident physicians switch clinical rotations, also called an end-of-rotation transition. During this handoff, hospitalized patients (up to 10-20) are handed over to an oncoming physician who has never met the patients. We sought to investigate if this type of transition was associated with worse patient outcomes, specifically mortality.

On July 1, 2011, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty-hour regulations limited first-year resident physicians (interns) to 16 continuous hours of work. Although these rules do not appear to have affected overall patient safety outcomes, they have been associated with an increase in shift-to-shift handoffs among training physicians. Given this, we wanted to study how they might impact patient outcomes surrounding end-of-rotation transitions in care.

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