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AHRQ-sponsored project will develop strategies to optimize medical resident hours and work schedules to improve patient safety

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is sponsoring the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Optimizing Graduate Medical Trainee (Resident) Hours and Work Schedules to Improve Patient Safety. The Committee will focus on two tasks:

  1. Reviewing and synthesizing the evidence on optimal resident work schedules.
  2. Developing strategies for implementing optimal resident work schedules.

As part of the first task, the Committee will review the evidence on the relationship between resident work schedules, resident education and training experience, and resident performance. The Committee will also consider other strategies that the United States and other countries have implemented to optimize the work schedules for residents to assure the safety and quality of patient care. In addition, the Committee will identify barriers to change and strategies for overcoming them.

As part of the second task, the Committee will make recommendations on how the strategies, practices, interventions, and tools identified in the first task can be implemented to optimize resident schedules to improve the safety of the health care work environment and the quality of care.

These recommendations would include actions that can be taken in the short- and long-term by residents, hospitals, professional societies, accrediting bodies, administrators and those who fund residency training programs, Federal and State agencies, and policymakers at all levels.

The project began in September 2007, and a report is expected at the end of the project in approximately 18 months. The first public workshop was held on December 3, 2007. Future meetings are tentatively scheduled for:

  • March 4-5, 2008, Irvine, CA.
  • May 8-9, 2008, Washington, DC.
  • June 26-27, 2008, Washington, DC.

For more information, go to remarks by Carolyn M. Clancy, AHRQ's Director, at: http://www.ahrq.gov/news/sp120307.htm.

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