Evaluating the effect of emergency residency training on productivity in the emergency department

Daniel J Henning, Daniel C McGillicuddy, Leon D Sanchez
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2013, 45 (3): 414-8

BACKGROUND: Resident productivity, defined as patients seen per unit time, is one measure that is used to assess the performance and educational progress of residents in the emergency department (ED). One published study suggested that emergency residency training (EM) does not improve productivity compared with that in other specialties, including internal medicine (IM).

OBJECTIVES: This study assesses how EM and IM trainees perform in the ED and illustrates how resident productivity changes through the academic year.

METHODS: A retrospective review of attending physicians and residents working 8-h shifts in the higher acuity zone of a large-volume, tertiary, academic health care center was performed for July 2009, October 2009, January 2010, and April 2010. The total number of patients seen primarily and admitted during each shift was recorded. ED volume was approximated by the number of patients seen by the attending physician, and acuity was approximated by admission rate. A mixed model regression assessed the impact of year and type of residency training (e.g., EM1, EM2, IM1, and IM2), ED volume, and acuity on resident productivity (number of patients per shift). The study was granted waiver of informed consent by our institutional review board.

RESULTS: We reviewed 936 shifts. After adjusting for acuity and ED volume, the EM1 group had a significant increase in patients per shift over the year, from 6.11 in July to 10.3 in April (p < 0.001). No other group increased productivity significantly.

CONCLUSIONS: The first EM training year leads to a significant change in productivity that separates EM from IM residents. This contradicts the previous assertion that non-EM residents have the same productivity as EM residents in the ED.

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