Closer supervision of resident physicians doesn't curb medical errors, study finds

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Attending physicians who joined patient rounds and monitored residents closely did not significantly reduce medical errors, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found.

The study gathered data from 22 attending physicians, who participated in this randomized clinical trial performed on an inpatient general medical service at a large academic center. The study involved 188 internal medicine residents and was conducted from September 2015 to June 2016.

Each attending physician provided two different levels of supervision. The study found more supervision did not significantly reduce the rate of medical errors but did lead to interns speaking less and residents reporting a decreased level of autonomy.

"Increased direct attending physician supervision did not significantly reduce the medical error rate," the study authors concluded. "In designing morning work rounds, residency programs should reconsider their balance of patient safety, learning needs and resident autonomy."

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