A New White Paper Analyzes How to Implement the 2009 Institute of Medicine Recommendations on Resident Physician Work Hours, Supervision and Safety
Friday, June 24, 2011 at 12:01AM

Twenty-six of the nation’s leaders in medicine, health care, patient safety and research released a white paper today with recommendations for improving patient safety and residency training and well-being. The report, published by the journal Nature and Science of Sleep, called for sweeping changes in the design, supervision and financing of U.S. hospital residency care programs to protect patients from serious, preventable medical errors, and end dangerously long work hours for physicians in training. The authors suggest that all medical residents should work no more than 16 hours without sleep, and that Medicare physician training funds to hospitals should be tied to work-hour compliance.

The report is a product of a conference held last June at Harvard Medical School, sponsored by the CIR Policy and Education Initiative, which was convened to develop a road map for implementation of the Institute of Medicine’s 2009 recommendations for residency reform, documented in the IOM’s pivotal report Resident Duty Hours: Enhancing Sleep Supervision and Safety.

Co-moderated by patient safety leader Lucian Leape, MD and sleep scientist Christopher Landrigan, MD, MPH, the two-day invitation-only roundtable conference and resulting white paper encouraged medical educators and hospitals to embark on fundamental system re-design. “The safety of our patients and our trainees requires nothing less,” write the authors.

Researchers Say Doctors Should Disclose Sleep Fatigue to Patients PDF Print E-mail

Prospective patients should think twice on the morning of elective surgery if their surgeon informs them that he has been up all night doing emergency surgery.

But are patients routinely informed? A December 30 New England Journal of Medicine Perspective piece, Sleep Deprivation, Elective Surgical Procedures, and Informed Consent, takes on this ethical issue.

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