The ACGME’s approach emphasizes the collective responsibility of programs, sponsoring institutions, and the accrediting body for safe and effective patient care and the learning environment for residents. Enhanced mechanisms to promote enhance adherence to the standards are based on three principles: increasing data collection related to duty hours; shortening the response time in cases of alleged non-compliance; monitoring of Residency Review Committees’ (RRCs’) process of assessing compliance through the ACGME Monitoring Committee. The ACGME also has a formal mechanism for following up on complaints from residents and others with knowledge about an alleged non-compliance with the duty hour provisions that seeks to protect the confidentiality of the individual who bring this information to the attention of the ACGME. Due to the multi-faceted nature of the implementation process, the ACGME has charged a committee with advising the Board of Directors on matters related to the implementation and monitoring of the duty hour standards, and with how to build knowledge about innovative and effective approaches to comply with the requirements.
Effect of the Duty Hour Limits
The implementation of this regulation comes as a relief to the resident community as it reduced resident fatigue, and allowed more time for reading and for family and personal pursuits with little change in in-service exam scores and quality of patient care.