Study: Does the “July effect” mean less care for patients?

There's No Substitute for Experience

It is fair to assume that most Tennessee residents do not look forward to going to the hospital. There is the general fear of the unknown, combined with possible physical pain. However, while going to the hospital is certainly not on the top of most peoples' lists, many do find comfort in knowing that the doctors and other medical staff at the hospital are trained professionals.

For a long time many believed there was a “July effect” at hospitals. Essentially, the idea behind this “July effect” was that new medical residents arrive at teaching hospitals in July. Many thought this meant there was more of a chance of receiving a lesser quality of care due to the inexperience of the new residents.

However, a recent study --which was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine - found that this “July effect” fear was made into something way more than what it really is.

In this study, researchers analyzed 528,057 admissions into teaching hospitals. All of these admissions were for spinal surgery.

According to the study, among high-risk patients, there was no difference in outcomes between those admitted into the hospital in July versus other times of the year. But, the study did find that there was a slightly higher likelihood of infections after surgeries and patients needing to be discharged into long-term care facilities among those patients admitted in July.

In the end, looking at all of the information, researchers found that there is no “July effect.”

Of course this does not mean that there are no cases of poor care of medical errors in July, it just means that patients should not fear July more than any other month in the hospital.

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