Impact of resident duty-hour reform on faculty clinical productivity

Mary E. Klingensmith, Emily R. Winslow, Barton H. Hamilton, Bruce L. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: Prior data have shown that resident duty-hour reform has not affected faculty work hours; yet the preservation of faculty hours may have been at the expense of productivity. We sought to examine change in clinical productivity. Design: Anonymous survey and analysis of faculty relative value units (RVU) database Setting A single, large academic medical center. Participants: All clinical faculty in the Department of Surgery. Methods: An anonymous survey was distributed to surgical faculty 18 months after reform and compared with surveys taken before and after reform. Opinions regarding productivity and working hours were solicited. P values were determined by chi-square or Student t-tests. Relative value unit data, reflecting clinical productivity, were compared before and after reform. Regression was performed with dependent variable "lnRVU" and independent variables "calendar month," "pre/post" July 2003, and "surgeon." The coefficient on "pre/post" reflected average change in RVUs. Results: A total of 49 of 73 surveys were returned (67% response). Faculty reported an average of 68.0 ± 7.0 weekly work hours (p = NS compared with previous survey). In the current survey, 35% felt their overall productivity had fallen due to reform. Among these, 83% felt academic productivity had suffered, 11% were unsure, and 1 person (6%) believed academic productivity was preserved. The majority (82%) reported preserved clinical productivity, 6% reported a decrease, and 12% were unsure. Overall, 60% reported doing work previously done by residents. When RVU data were examined, the coefficient on change pre- and post-reform indicated a 5.7% increase in productivity (p = 0.005). However, this effect was driven by 5 surgeons with a greater than 75% increase in productivity, all young faculty, early in practice. Excluding these, there was no significant change (0.6% increase, p = 0.77). Conclusions: Faculty have preserved work hours and clinical productivity, despite a tendency to take on work previously done by residents. This suggests that academic activities may have suffered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-79
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Faculty productivity
  • Relative value units
  • Resident work hours
  • Surgeon work hours
  • Surgical education


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