Resident Visit Productivity and Attitudes About Continuity According to 3 Versus 4 Years of Training in Family Medicine: A Length of Training Study

Fam Med. 2023 Apr;55(4):225-232. doi: 10.22454/FamMed.2023.486345. Epub 2023 Feb 13.


Background and objectives: Training models in the Length of Training Pilot (LOTP) vary. How innovations in training length affect patient visits and resident perceptions of continuity is unknown.

Methods: We analyzed resident in-person patient encounters (2013-2014 through 2018-2019) for each postgraduate year (PGY) and total visits at graduation derived from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education reports for each LOTP program. We collected data on residents' perceptions of continuity from annual surveys (2015-2019). We analyzed continuous variables using independent samples t tests with unequal variance and categorical variables using χ2 tests in comparing 3-year (3YR) versus 4-year (4YR) programs.

Results: PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents in 4YR programs saw statistically more patients than their counterparts in 3YR programs. In PGY3, 3YR program residents had statistically higher visit volume compared to 4YR program residents. Visits conducted in PGY4 ranged from 832 to 884. The additional year of training resulted in approximately 1,000 more total patient visits. Most residents in 3YR and 4YR programs rated their continuity clinic experience as somewhat or very adequate (range 86.3% to 93.7%), which did not statistically differ according to length of training.

Conclusions: Resident visits were significantly different at each PGY level when comparing 3YR and 4YR programs in the LOTP and the additional year of training resulted in about 1,000 more total visits. Resident perspectives on the adequacy of their continuity clinic experience appeared to not be affected by length of training. Future research should explore how the volume of patient visits performed in residency affects scope of practice and clinical preparedness.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods
  • Family Practice* / education
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires