Medical Interns Spend 87 percent of Their Work Time Away From Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krisda Chaiyachati, MD, MPH, MSHPAssistant Professor , Medicine, Perelman School of MedicineClinical Innovation Manager, Penn's Center for Health Care InnovationPerelman School of MedicineMedical Director, Penn Medicine's FirstCall Virtual Care

Dr. Chaiyachati

Krisda Chaiyachati, MD, MPH, MSHP
Assistant Professor
Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
Clinical Innovation Manager
Penn’s Center for Health Care Innovation
Perelman School of Medicine
Medical Director, Penn Medicine’s FirstCall Virtual Care  

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

Response: The United States spends more than $12 billion annually on training young doctors who have rates of burnout and depression at an alarmingly high rate. Yet, we have limited evidence as to what they are doing while training in the hospital. We sought to glimpse into how their day is spent. In the largest study to date, we observed 80 first-year internal medicine physicians (“interns”) for nearly 2200 hours across 194 work shifts at 6 different sites. Our research sought to understand what medical residents did by categorizing training activities into themes such as time spent in education or patient care.  Continue reading

Home Responsibilities Encourage Physician Mothers in Procedural Specialties To Consider Career Change

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nelya Melnitchouk, MD,MScDirector, Program in Peritoneal Surface Malignancy, HIPECDr. Melnitchouk is an associate surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) and instructor of surgery at Harvard Medical Schoo

Dr. Melnitchouk

Nelya Melnitchouk, MD,MSc
Director, Program in Peritoneal Surface Malignancy, HIPEC
Dr. Melnitchouk is an associate surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) and
instructor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.

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

Response: Current literature on women in surgery show that female physicians, particularly those in procedural specialties, face many challenges in balancing responsibilities between work and home. We hypothesized that these challenges may affect career satisfaction more negatively for physician mothers in procedural specialties than those in nonprocedural specialties.

In our study, we found that physician mothers in procedural specialties who had more domestic responsibilities were more likely to report a desire to change careers than those in nonprocedural specialties.  Continue reading

Formal Education Not Enough To Teach Effective Patient Handoffs Among Medical Residents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nicholas A. Rattray, Ph.D.Research Scientist/InvestigatorVA HSR&D Center for Health Information and CommunicationImplementation Core, Precision Monitoring to Transform Care (PRISM) QUERIRichard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical CenterIndiana University Center for Health Services & Outcomes ResearchRegenstrief Institute, Inc.Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. Rattray

Nicholas A. Rattray, Ph.D.
Research Scientist/Investigator
VA HSR&D Center for Health Information and Communication
Implementation Core, Precision Monitoring to Transform Care (PRISM) QUERI
Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Indiana University Center for Health Services & Outcomes Research
Regenstrief Institute, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana


on behalf of study co-authors re:
Rattray NA, Flanagan ME, Militello LG, Barach P, Franks Z, Ebright P, Rehman SU,
Gordon HS, Frankel RM

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

Response: End-of-shift handoffs pose a substantial patient safety risk. The transition of care from one doctor to another has been associated with delays in diagnosis and treatment, duplication of tests or treatment and patient discomfort, inappropriate care, medication errors and longer hospital stays with more laboratory testing. Handoff education varies widely in medical schools and residency training programs. Although there have been efforts to improve transfers of care, they have not shown meaningful improvement.

Led for the last decade by Richard Frankel, Ph.D., a senior health scientist at Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University and professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, our team has studied how health practitioners communicate during end-of-shift handoffs. In this current study, funded by VA Health Services and Research Development, we conducted interviews with 35 internal medicine and surgery residents at three VA medical centers about a recent handoff and analyzed the responses. Our team also video-recorded and analyzed more than 150 handoffs.

Published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, this study explains how the person receiving the handoff can affect the interaction. Medical residents said they changed their delivery based on the doctor or resident who was taking over (i.e., training level, preference for fewer details, day or night shift). We found that handoff communication involves a complex combination of socio-technical information where residents balance relational factors against content and risk. It is not a mechanistic process of merely transferring clinical data but rather is based on learned habits of communication that are context-sensitive and variable, what we refer to as “recipient design”.

In another paper led by Laura Militello, we focus on how residents cognitively prepare for handoffs. In the paper published in The Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety®, researchers detailed the tasks involved in cognitively preparing for handoffs. A third paper, published in BMC Medical Education, reports on the limited training that physicians receive during their residency. Residents said they were only partially prepared for enacting handoffs as interns, and clinical experience and enacting handoffs actually taught them the most.

  Continue reading

Flexible Medical Resident Duty Hours Did Not Pose Risks To Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeffrey H. Silber, MD, PhDDirector, Center for Outcomes ResearchNancy Abramson Wolfson Endowed Chair in Health Services ResearchChildren's Hospital of PhiladelphiaProfessor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology and Critical CarePerelman School of Medicine, University of PennsylvaniaProfessor of Health Care ManagementWharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Silber

Jeffrey H. Silber, MD, PhD
Director, Center for Outcomes Research
Nancy Abramson Wolfson Endowed Chair
Health Services Research
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology and Critical Care
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Professor of Health Care Management
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania 

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

Response: This was a year-long randomized trial that involved 63 internal medicine residency programs from around the US.  In 2015-2016, about half of the programs were randomized to follow the existing rules about resident duty hours that included restrictions on the lengths of shifts and the rest time required between shifts (the standard arm of the trial) and the other half of the programs didn’t have those shift length or rest period rules (the flexible arm of the trial).  We measured what happened to the patients cared for in those programs (the safety study), and other studies examined how much sleep the residents received, and how alert they were at the end of shifts (the sleep study), and previously we published on the educational outcomes of the interns.

To measure the impact on patient outcomes when allowing program directors the ability to use a flexible shift length for their interns, we compared patient outcomes after the flexible regimen went into place to outcomes the year before in the same program. We did the same comparison for the standard arm. Then we compared the difference between these comparisons. Comparing before and after the implementation of the trial within the same program allowed us to be more confident that a particularly strong or weak program, or a program with especially sick or healthy patients, would not throw off the results of the study. The trial was designed to determine, with 95% confidence, if the flexible arm did not do more than 1% worse than the standard arm. If this were true for the flexible arm, we could say the flexible regimen was “non-inferior” to the standard regimen.

Continue reading

Why Are There So Few Minority Dermatologists?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yssra-SolimanYssra S. Soliman, BA
Division of Dermatology, Department of Internal Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Bronx, New York

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

Response: As the population of the United States becomes increasingly diverse, certain fields within medicine have not followed this trend. Dermatology is the least diverse field after orthopedics. We wanted to understand what barriers prevent medical students from applying to dermatology and whether these barriers differed based on students’ racial, ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds.

The main findings of this study are that certain groups are more likely to cite specific barriers than non-minority students. These barriers are significant deterrents to applying to dermatology and include the lack of diversity in dermatology, negative perceptions of minority students by residency programs, socioeconomic barriers such as lack of loan forgiveness and poor accessibility to mentors.  Continue reading

Diversity Standards Linked to More Female, Black and Hispanic Students in Medical Schools

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Dowin H. Boatright, MD Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Boatright

Dr. Dowin H. Boatright, MD
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Yale School of Medicine

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

Response: This observational study looked at changes in student makeup by sex, race and ethnicity at U.S. medical schools after an accrediting organization introduced diversity standards in 2009.

An analysis of data from 120 medical schools suggests implementation of the diversity standards were associated with increasing percentages of female, black students, and Hispanic students.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Accreditation standards may be an effective policy lever to increase diversity in the physician workforce. Nevertheless, while study results are promising, women, black, and Hispanic physicians remain underrepresented in the physician workforce.  

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future studies should evaluate changes in student demographics at individual medical schools. Institutions that have proven to be successful in recruiting diverse medical school classes could serve as a model for other schools looking to improve medical student diversity.

No dislosures

Citation:

Boatright DH, Samuels EA, Cramer L, et al. Association Between the Liaison Committee on Medical Education’s Diversity Standards and Changes in Percentage of Medical Student Sex, Race, and Ethnicity. JAMA.2018;320(21):2267–2269. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.13705

Dec 5, 2018 @ 12:58 pm 

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Sexual Harassment in Academic Medicine Affects Both Women and Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sabine Oertelt-Prigione, MD, MSc Professor (Strategic Chair) of Gender in Primary and Transmural Care Department of Primary and Community Care Radboud University Medical Center

Dr. Oertelt-Prigione

Sabine Oertelt-Prigione, MD, MSc
Professor (Strategic Chair) of Gender in Primary and Transmural Care
Department of Primary and Community Care
Radboud University Medical Center

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

Response: This publication is a part of the WPP (Watch, Protect, Prevent) Study conducted between 2014 and 2017 at Charité – Universitaetsmedizin in Berlin, Germany. The project was designed to achieve three goals: a) acquire information about the prevalence of sexual harassment in academic medicine, b) develop and implement specific preventative measures and c) design and adopt a workplace policy against sexual harassment. The two latter goals have been achieved and this manuscript describes the findings that prompted their adoption.

In our study we carefully dissected the harassment experiences of physicians working in our tertiary referral center. Verbal harassment throughout medical careers appears as a very common phenomenon that almost 70% of women and men experience at some point. Physical harassment is less common. While colleagues appear as the main perpetrators for both sexes, women report more frequently harassment by their superiors. Among the structural factors potentially associated with harassment, we only identified strong hierarchies. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: First, we show that although the perpetrator profiles differ, both women and men in our study sample are significantly affected by sexual harassment. Second, our results display a gradient of harassment experiences and their prevalence, i.e. the verbal and non-physical forms are more common than physical forms. We argue that tolerance of non-physical forms of misconduct will increase the risk for physical forms by fostering a belief of impunity. Third, in our sample, strong hierarchies associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing harassment in both females and males.

Overall, this data shows that sexual harassment is not an action perpetrated by a single individual, but has a systemic dimension, which needs to be addressed through cultural change. Only measures targeting communication culture, formal structures and interactions in academic medicine will lead to change. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The investigation of sexual harassment is a complicated matter and should be addressed in detail. In order to design effective prevention measures, we need to know exactly what people have experienced. Hence, a simple question such as “Have you ever experienced sexual harassment?” within a statutory survey will most likely not help much in defining further steps.

The connection between communication patterns, hierarchies and harassment was very apparent in our sample and this area needs further investigation.

Last, the fact that men are also significantly affected emphasizes that this is not a women´s issue but a phenomenon that needs to be addressed to improve the working conditions for all healthcare providers.

Disclosures: Sabine Oertelt-Prigione received funding from the German Ministry of Education and Research, the Charité Foundation, the Hans Boeckler Foundation and the Equal Opportunities Program of the City of Berlin. She has provided expert testimony on the issue of sexual harassment to the German Federal Antidiscrimination Agency and the German Parliament. She is a pro-bono expert advisor for ASTIA.

Citation:

Jenner S, Djermester P, Prügl J, Kurmeyer C, Oertelt-Prigione S. Prevalence of Sexual Harassment in Academic Medicine. JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 03, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4859 

Oct 3, 2018 @ 6:20 pm

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Patients Most Often Receive Breast Cancer Diagnosis By Phone

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Emily Albright, MD Surgical Oncology Missouri University Health Care

Dr. Albright

Dr. Emily Albright, MD
Surgical Oncology
Missouri University Health Care

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

Response: Traditional medicine had a paternalistic approach but more recent changes have transitioned into shared decision making and a patient centered approach. However, current research has not addressed the mode of communicating bad news to patients.

This study was designed to look at trends in modes of communication of a breast cancer diagnosis. This study identified a trend for patients to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer over the telephone in more recent years. Also noted was that of those receiving the diagnosis in person 40% were alone.

Continue reading

Medical Residents and Program Directors Have Different Perceptions of New Parent Leave and Breastfeeding Policies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof-Lia E. Gracey

Prof. Gracey

Lia E. Gracey, MD, PhD
Department of Dermatology
Baylor Scott & White Health
Austin, Texas 

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

Response: The co-authors and I were interested in this issue as new parent leave (or the lack thereof) is increasingly being examined in many professions.  As a mother who had children during dermatology residency, I felt the pressure to take a short new parent leave to avoid having to make up time at the end of my training.

I came back to work only 3 ½ weeks after having my first baby. Anecdotally, other new parent residents (both men and women) reported similar concerns and we noticed a lack of data about new parent leave policies in dermatology residency training programs.

We distributed surveys to dermatology residency program directors and residents and were struck by a basic lack of awareness by residents for whether their institution even offered new parent leave.  Less than 50% of surveyed residents were aware of a written new parent leave policy for their residency program, yet over 80% of program directors stated they had a policy in place. We also found discrepancies between resident and program director perceptions of sufficiency of new parent leave and the availability of pumping facilities for breastfeeding mothers.  Continue reading

Why Do So Few Women Enter or Complete Surgical Residency?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Erika L. Rangel, MD,MS Instructor, Harvard Medical School Trauma, Burn and Surgical Critical Care Department of Surgery, Center for Surgery and Public Health  Brigham and Women’s Hospital  Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Rangel

Erika L. Rangel, MD,MS
Instructor, Harvard Medical School
Trauma, Burn and Surgical Critical Care
Department of Surgery, Center for Surgery and Public Health
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, Massachusetts

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

Response: Although women make up half of medical student graduates in 2018, they only comprise a third of applicants to general surgery. Studies suggest that lifestyle concerns and perceptions of conflict between career and family obligations dissuade students from the field.

After entering surgical residencies, women residents have higher rates of attrition (25% vs 15%) and cite uncontrollable lifestyle as a predominant factor in leaving the field. Surgeons face reproductive challenges including stigma against pregnancy during training, higher rates of infertility, need for assisted reproduction, and increased rates of pregnancy complications. However, until recently, studies capturing the viewpoints of women who begin families during training have been limited. Single-institution experiences have described mixed experiences surrounding maternity leave duration, call responsibilities, attitudes of coworkers and faculty, and the presence of postpartum support.

Earlier this year, our group presented findings of the first national study of perspectives of surgical residents who had undergone pregnancy during training. A 2017 survey was distributed to women surgical residents and surgeons through the Association of Program Directors in Surgery, the Association of Women Surgeons and through social media via twitter and Facebook. Responses were solicited from those who had at least one pregnancy during their surgical training.

39% of respondents had seriously considered leaving surgical residency, and 30% reported they would discourage a female medical student from a surgical career, specifically because of the difficulties of balancing pregnancy and motherhood with training (JAMA Surg 2018; July 1; 153(7):644-652).

These findings suggested the challenges surrounding pregnancy and childrearing during training may have a significant impact on the decision to pursue or maintain a career in surgery. The current study provides an in-depth analysis of cultural and structural factors within residency programs that influence professional dissatisfaction.

We found that women who faced stigma related to their pregnancies, who had no formal maternity leave at their programs, and who altered subspecialty training plans due to perceived challenges balancing motherhood with the originally chosen subspecialty were most likely to be unhappy with their career or residency. Continue reading

Few Programs Dedicated To Preventing Mistreatment of Medical Trainees

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Doctors with patient, 1999” by Seattle Municipal Archives is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Laura M. Mazer, MD
Goodman Surgical Education Center
Department of Surgery
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, California

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

Response: There are numerous articles that clearly document the high prevalence of mistreatment of medical trainees. We have all seen and experienced the results of an “I’ll do unto you like they did unto me” attitude towards medical education. Our motivation for this study was to go beyond just documenting the problem, and start looking at what people are doing to help fix it.

Unfortunately, we found that there are comparatively few reports of programs dedicated to preventing or decreasing mistreatment of medical trainees. In those studies we did review, the study quality was generally poor. Most of the programs had no guiding conceptual framework, minimal literature review, and outcomes were almost exclusively learner-reported.

Continue reading

Is More Supervision of Medical Residents Always Better for Patient Care?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kathleen M. Finn MD, MPhil
Christiana Iyasere MD, MBA
Division of General Internal Medicine
Department of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

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

Response: While the relationship between resident work hours and patient safety has been extensively studied, little research evaluates the role of attending supervision on patient safety. Beginning with the Bell Commission there have been increased calls for enhanced resident supervision due to patient safety concerns. At the same time, with the growth of the hospitalist movement more faculty physicians join daily resident work rounds under the assumption that increased supervision is better for patient safety and resident education. However, we know that supervision is a complex balancing act, so we wanted to study whether these assumptions were true. On the one hand patient safety is important, but on the other adult learning theory argues residents need to be challenged to work beyond their comfort level. Importantly, being pushed beyond your comfort level often requires appropriate space between teacher and learner. To investigate the role of attending supervision on patient safety and resident learning we studied the impact of two levels of physician supervision on an inpatient general medical team.

Twenty-two teaching faculty were randomized to either direct supervision of resident teams for patients previously known to the team vs usual care where they did not join rounds but rather discussed the patients later with the team. Faculty participated in both arms of the study, after completing the first arm they then crossed over to the other arm; each faculty member participated in the study for a total of 4 weeks.

Continue reading

Physicians Passage of MOC Exam Linked to Fewer State Disciplinary Actions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Furman S. McDonald MD MPH Lead author of the research and  Senior Vice President for Academic and Medical Affairs American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)

Dr. McDonald

Dr. Furman S. McDonald MD MPH
Lead author of the research and
Senior Vice President for Academic and Medical Affairs
American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain how the MOC examination works?

Response: To earn Board Certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), doctors take an exam after completing a medical education training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to demonstrate they have the knowledge to practice in a specialty. Previously, ABIM conducted research that showed that physicians who passed a certification exam were five times less likely to be disciplined by a state licensing board than those who do not become certified.

After becoming board certified, physicians can participate in ABIM’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program, which involves periodic assessments and learning activities to support doctors in staying current with medical knowledge through their careers. ABIM has been in conversations across the medical community and many people have expressed interest in whether performance on the MOC exams doctors take is also associated with important outcomes relevant to patients.

For this study, my ABIM colleagues and I studied whether there was any association between Internal Medicine MOC exam performance and disciplinary actions by state licensing boards. We studied MOC exam results and any reported disciplinary actions for nearly 48,000 general internists who initially certified between 1990 and 2003.  Continue reading

Dark Skin Tones May Be Underrepresented in Medical Textbooks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Patricia Louie, MA PhD Student, Department of Sociology University of Toronto Toronto, ON, Canada

Patricia Louie

Patricia Louie, MA
PhD Student, Department of Sociology
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada 

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

 

Response: While most physicians believe that they treat patients equally, research shows that racial inequality pervades the U.S. health care system (Feagin and Bennefield 2014; Williams 2012). Because these inequities persist even after demographic and other socio-economic differences are taken into consideration scholars have started to look at the representation of race in the medical curriculum. The idea is that medical curriculum creates both implicit and explicit connections between race and disease. We build on this body of work by investigating the representation of race (White, Black and Person of Color) and skin tone (light, medium and dark) in the images of four preclinical anatomy textbooks – Atlas of Human AnatomyBates’ Guide to Physical Examination & History Taking, Clinically Oriented Anatomy, and Gray’s Anatomy for Students.  Skin tone is important.

The majority of medical imagery consists of decontextualized images of body parts where skin tone, which may be related to disease presentation, is the only phenotypical marker. If doctors associate light skin tones with White patients, this may also influence how doctors think about who is a “typical” patient, particularly for the type of disease that is shown in that image.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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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More Medical Students May Have Non-Apparent Disabilities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:  

Lisa Meeks , PhD
Director, Medical Student Disability
UCSF Medical Center

Lisa Meeks , PhD Director, Medical Student Disability UCSF Medical Center

Dr. Lisa Meeks

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

Response: This was the first study to include students with AD/HD, learning, psychological, and chronic health conditions. This study found that the prevalence of students with disabilities is up to four times higher than previous studies indicated.

AD/HD, learning, and psychological disabilities were the most prevalent, suggesting that most students with disabilities in medicine have non-apparent disabilities. Within MD granting programs, the number of students self-reporting disability varied between 0% and 12%. Explanations for the high variability between programs are unknown, however, anecdotal reports suggest the degree to which programs have dedicated resources and inclusive practices for students with disabilities influence student disclosure.

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