Work Hours Assessment and Monitoring Initiative (WHAMI) under resident direction: a strategy for working within limitations

Michael J Goldstein, Benjamin Samstein, Akuo Ude, Warren D Widmann, Mark A Hardy
Current Surgery 2005, 62 (1): 132-7

PURPOSE: A review of surgical residents' duty-hours prompted a Work Hours Assessment and Monitoring Initiative (WHAMI) that preemptively limits residents from violating "duty-hours rules."

METHODS: Work hours data for the Department of Surgery were reviewed over 8-months at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia Campus. This ongoing review is performed by a work-hours monitoring team, which supervises residents' hours for the initial 5-days of each week. As residents approach work-hours limits for the week, they are dismissed from duty for appropriate time periods in the remaining 2 days of the week.

RESULTS: The work-hours data entry compliance for 52 residents was increased from 93% to 99% after creation of the WHAMI. Before the new system, a mean of 9.5 residents per month (19%) worked an average of 7.3 +/- 6.4 hours over the 80-hour limit. Averaged monthly compliance with the 80-hour work limit was increased to 98% with introduction of the WHAMI. A review of on-call duty hours revealed a mean of 7 (14%) residents per month who worked an average of 2.4 hours beyond 24-hour call limitations including "sign-out" time imposed by the ACGME. New monitoring procedures have improved compliance to 100% with 24-hour call limitations imposed by the ACGME. Compliance with the more stringent New York State (NYS) guidelines has approached 94% with noncompliant residents extending on-call hours by an average of 1.5 hours over the 24-hour limitations, most on "off General Surgery" rotations or out-of-state rotations. Review of mandatory rest periods contributed to an increase in mean "time off" between work periods, thereby increasing compliance with ACGME guidelines and NYS regulations from 75% to 88%, and 90% to 98%, respectively. Residents reporting less than 10 hours rest reported increased "time off" from 6.2 +/- 2.0 to 7.9 +/- 1.3 hours (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Internal review of surgical resident's duty-hours at a large university hospital revealed that despite strict scheduling and the requirement of mandatory duty-hours entry, achieving the goals of meeting the duty-hours requirements and of ongoing data entry required the creation of a resident enforced, real-time Work Hours Assessment and Monitoring Initiative.

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