Patient handoffs

A major downside to capping resident work-hours is increasing the number of patient handoffs between doctors.

Further decreasing allowable work-hours to 56 hours per week will only exacerbate the problem.

A survey of MGH residents suggested that this practice led to significant patient harm, almost as serious as medication-related events:

More than half of the 161 medical or surgical residents who responded to the anonymous survey said they recalled at least one occasion in their last month-long rotation when a patient suffered from flawed handoffs. About one in nine said the harm that resulted was significant.

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