Reduced resident "code blue" experience in the era of quality improvement: new challenges in physician training

Acad Med. 2011 Jun;86(6):726-30. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318217e44e.

Abstract

Purpose: Emergency resuscitation or "code blue" is a clinical event through which responding medical residents gain experience and proficiency. A retooling of practice has occurred at academic medical centers since the emergence of quality improvement initiatives and resident duty hours limits. The authors investigated how these changes may impact code blue frequency and resident opportunities to gain clinical experience.

Method: The authors conducted a single-center, retrospective (2002-2009) review of monthly code blue frequency. They compared code blue frequency with corresponding monthly first-year internal medicine resident call schedules (2002-2008 academic years). Using a Monte Carlo simulation they estimated annual code blue experience, and using Poisson regression, they estimated annual trends in resident code blue experience.

Results: The authors detected a 41% overall reduction in code blue events between 2002 and 2008; code blue events decreased by 13% annually (P < .001). These trends persisted, even after accounting for hospital census fluctuations: Rates fell from approximately 12 code blue events/1,000 admissions in 2002 to 3.8 events/1,000 in 2008. Overall, the model of code blue frequency and resident call schedules shows a dramatic reduction in the predicted number of code blue experiences, falling from 29 events (empirical 95% CI 18-40) in academic year 2002 to 5 events (CI 1-9) in 2008.

Conclusions: Physicians-in-training at one facility are seeing far fewer code blue events than their predecessors. Whether current numbers of in-hospital code blue events are sufficient to provide adequate experience without supplemental practice for trainees is unclear.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / education*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / statistics & numerical data
  • Clinical Competence
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Practice, Psychological
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States