Every July, hospitals across the country welcome new medical graduates into their ranks. Many studies have been conducted to examine the so-called “July Effect,” the increase in negative outcomes and rates of medical errors for patients often attributed to this influx of inexperienced doctors. However, according to an article in Modern Healthcare, the “July Effect” may require further examination.
While some studies have found that there is an uptick in medical errors and patient morbidity in July, many doctors and hospitals are arguing that the “July Effect” may have little to do with recent medical graduates entering hospitals and staff turnover, and that the effect may vary by institution. One of the major studies on the “July Effect” posited: “Heterogeneity in the existing literature does not permit firm conclusions about the degree of risk posed, how changeover affects morbidity and rates of medical errors, or whether particular models are more or less problematic.”
Hospitals are staying vigilant, though. Through training programs for interns covering “everything from hand hygiene to advanced cardiac life support” and increased attention to quality and safety in orientations, hospitals are trying to combat the “July Effect,” whether real or perceived.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) created the Clinical Learning Environment Review program in 2012 to provide feedback to hospitals on patient safety and other areas. "What we are doing as an organization is driving change by providing that information and then coming back two years later to see what's changed," states Dr. Kevin Weiss, the ACGME's senior vice president for institutional accreditation.