The ACGME welcomes the publication of the two iCOMPARE papers in the New England Journal of Medicine. The ACGME will be studying these findings and including them in its regular review of the Common Program Requirements, along with all other relevant studies and evidence.
The primary outcomes of these studies on patient safety and resident sleep support the changes made to the ACGME requirements in 2017. ACGME President and CEO Dr. Thomas J. Nasca stated, “The Common Program Requirements related to the Working and Learning Environment have now been empirically demonstrated to work in diverse care environments, and are supported by physician educators in internal medicine and surgery. The ACGME will continue to encourage this type of research to assist us in making evidence-based decisions.”
Dr. Nasca recently sent a letter to the graduate medical education community reinforcing the need for strict compliance with the standards that outline the responsibilities of the institution, program, and supervising physicians; and in particular, specify the maximum length of resident work hours. The Common Program Requirements are explicit concerning the dimensions of the clinical learning environment, whether related to patient care issues, to educational issues, or to reporting clinical work hour violations by residents, fellows, and faculty members to the ACGME.
These requirements recognize the need to address resident and fellow well-being and risks of burnout and depression, while also ensuring that residents and fellows are trained under the approximate same working conditions that they will be expected to perform in as practicing physicians for the rest of their careers. In addition, the requirements stress the need for both programs and institutions to prioritize physician well-being for faculty members as well as residents and fellows, ensuring protected time with patients and minimizing non-physician obligations.
Read a press release from Penn Medicine about the studies.