May 17, 2016
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) announced today (pdf) that its board of directors has granted a waiver to the FIRST Trial for the 2016-2017 academic year, to allow the investigators to continue to monitor general surgery residency programs participating in the study, and add new information gathered from programs joining the trial as of July 1, 2016. This is part of a multifaceted effort by the ACGME to examine the impact of resident duty (work) hour restrictions on patient care and resident well-being.
"We are encouraged that the ACGME is supportive of continued data collection from programs participating in the FIRST Trial, and believe they will find the additional data useful as they consider changes to current duty hour policies," said Dr. Frank R. Lewis, executive director of the American Board of Surgery (ABS).
Sponsored by the ABS, the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and the ACGME, the FIRST Trial (Flexibility In Duty Hour Requirements for Surgical Trainees) is the first-ever national multicenter randomized trial of resident duty hour policies. General surgery residency programs are randomized into two groups: one using current work hour policies and another with more flexible policies. Both groups are limited to 80 duty hours per week; one day off in seven; and call no often than every third night. Complication rates are obtained from data submitted to the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program®; residents' perceptions are assessed through an annual survey administered by the ABS.
Data collection for the trial began on July 1, 2014; results of data collected during the 2014-2015 academic year were published online on February 2 in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented concurrently at the 2016 Academic Surgical Congress.