The ACGME Case Log System May Not Accurately Represent Operative Experience Among General Surgery Interns

Nimesh D. Naik, Eduardo F. Abbott, Johnathon M. Aho, T. K. Pandian, Cornelius A. Thiels, Stephanie F. Heller, David R. Farley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective To assess if the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) case log system accurately captures operative experience of our postgraduate year 1 (PGY-1) residents. Design ACGME case log information was retrospectively obtained for 5 cohorts of PGY-1 residents (2011-2015) and compared to the number of operative cases captured by an institutional automated operative case report system, Surgical Access Utility System (SAUS). SAUS automatically captures all surgical team members who are listed in the operative dictation for a given case, including interns. A paired t-test analysis was used to compare number of cases coded between the 2 systems. Setting Academic, tertiary care referral center with a large general surgery training program. Participants PGY-1 general surgery trainees (interns) from the years 2011-2015. Results Forty-nine PGY-1 general surgery residents were identified over a 5-year period. Mean operative case volume per intern, per year, captured by the automated SAUS was 176.5 ± 28.1 (SD) compared to 126.3 ± 58.0 ACGME cases logged (mean difference = 50.2 cases, p < 0.001). Conclusions ACGME case log data may not accurately reflect the actual operative experience of our PGY-1 residents. If such data holds true for other general surgery training programs, the true impact of duty hour regulations on operative volume may be unclear when using the ACGME case log data. This current standard approach for using ACGME case logs as a representation of operative experience requires further scrutiny and potential revision to more accurately determine operative experience for accreditation purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e106-e110
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Patient Care, Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Systems-Based Practice
  • operative experience
  • operative volume
  • training


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