Internal medicine residency training and outcomes

Charles H. Griffith, Eugene C. Rich, Steven D. Hillson, John F. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To review the impact of the clinical education of internal medicine residents on patients' outcomes. DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SELECTION: English-language studies of the relation between internal medicine housestaff training and patients' outcomes were systematically identified by a MEDLINE search and from bibliographies and reference lists of recently published articles. MAIN RESULTS: We hypothesized that the primary impact of internal medicine residency training on patients' outcomes would be the result of: (1) the inexperience of the residents; (2) the heavy workload these inexperienced residents are expected to manage; or (3) some structural feature of the internal medicine teaching services, such as the discontinuity of patient care inherent in night float systems and the fact that residents rotate to different services each month. We also hypothesized that residents may in many ways provide superior care, and may actually improve certain patient outcomes. Housestaff inexperience, workload, and structural features that promote discontinuity have been shown to affect especially outcomes of resource utilization, length of stay, and patient satisfaction. No study has demonstrated that internal medicine residents contribute to excess patient morbidity or mortality. However, the published studies in this area are for the most part retrospective and were conducted 10 to 15 years ago. The full extent of the untoward (or the beneficial) effects of internal medicine residency training on patients' outcomes is unknown. CONCLUSIONS: Multisite, prospective studies would remedy the deficiencies in the published research in this area and would yield the most valid insight into the range and extent of the effects of housestaff training on patients' outcomes. In the absence of such studies and in a rapidly changing managed care environment, academic medical centers and departments of medicine need to be aware of those aspects of the clinical education of residents that are most likely to affect patients' outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997


  • Costs
  • Internship
  • Outcomes
  • Residency
  • Teaching hospitals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Internal medicine residency training and outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this