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Variation in Workload for Pediatric Residents

High workload residents write 91% more orders, 19% more notes than low workload residents

TUESDAY, July 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — There is considerable variation in workload intensity among pediatric residents, according to a study published online June 29 in Pediatrics.

Adam Was, M.D., from the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif., and colleagues queried the Stanford Children’s Health research database for all electronic notes and orders written by pediatric residents from June 2012 to March 2014. To ensure an accurate comparison among residents, the dataset was narrowed; residents’ self-perceived workload intensity was determined by survey.

The researchers found that between June 2012 and June 2013, 20,280 notes and 112,214 orders were written by 26 pediatric interns during six core rotations. There was highly significant variability among residents in order-entry and note-writing workload intensity (P < 0.001). Compared with “low workload” residents in the bottom quartile of workload intensity, “high workload” residents, defined as the top quartile of total workload intensity, wrote 91 percent more orders and 19 percent more notes. Note-writing and order-entry workload intensity were correlated significantly (P = 0.02). No significant correlation was observed between residents’ self-perceived workload intensity and their objective workload.

“Significant variations in workload exist among pediatric residents,” the authors write. “This may contribute to heterogeneous educational opportunities, physician wellness, and quality of patient care.”

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