The first formal recommendations came in 1988, when a task force said residents should spend one day in seven away from a hospital and be on call no more than every third night. The next year, the now standard 80-hour workweek, averaged over four weeks, was put in place for internal medicine. Over the next few years, five more specialties added a weekly work-hour limit.
Explore This IssueAugust 2017
In 2001, ACGME created the Working Group on Resident Duty Hours and the Learning Environment. In large part, the report was inspired by the 1999 Institute of Medicine report, “To Err is Human,” which found that between 44,000 and 98,000 people die annually in hospitals due to preventable medical errors.
In 2003, the 80-hour weekly limit became standard for all specialties.
Fast forward to 2008, when ACGME was slated to “explore refinements” to its rules. The organization waited until 2010 for a report from Institute of Medicine and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that examined resident hours.
Those standards were updated in 2010, and ACGME’s 2011 revisions were based in part on the updated version.