Special Theme: Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Medicine: IN PROGRESS—SEPTEMBER 2002: SPECIAL FEATURE: APPLICATIONS OF THE WORLD WIDE WEB
A Novel Web-based Graduate Medical Education Management System Including ACGME Compliance Algorithms
Objective: Administration of graduate medical education programs has become more difficult as compliance with ACGME work guidelines has assumed increased importance. These guidelines have caused many changes in the resident work environment, including the emergence of complicated cross-cover arrangements. Many participating residents (each with his or her own individual scheduling requirements) usually generate these schedules. Accordingly, schedules are often not submitted in a timely fashion and they may not be in compliance with the ACGME guidelines for maximum on-call assignments and mandatory days off. Our objective was the establishment of a Web-based system that guides residents in creating on-call schedules that follow ACGME guidelines while still allowing maximum flexibility—thus allowing each resident to maintain an internal locus of control.1
Description: A versatile and scalable system with password-protected user (resident) and administrator interfaces was created. An entire academic year is included, and past months and years are automatically archived. The residents log on within the first 15 days of the preceding month and choose their positions in a schedule template. They then make adjustments while receiving immediate summary feedback on compliance with ACGME guidelines. The schedule is electronically submitted to the educational administrator for final approval. If a cross-cover system is required, the program automatically generates an optimal schedule using both of the approved participating service schedules. The residents then have an additional five-day period to make adjustments in the cross-cover schedule while still receiving compliance feedback. The administrator again provides final approval electronically. The communication interface automatically pages or e-mails the residents when schedules are updated or approved. Since the information exists in a relational database, simple reporting tools are included to extract the information necessary to generate records for institutional GME management.
Discussion: Implementation of this program has been met with great enthusiasm from the institutional stakeholders. Specifically, residents have embraced the ability to directly control their schedules and have gained appreciation for the regulatory matrix in which they function. Institutional administrators have praised the improvement in compliance and the ease of documentation. We anticipate that the system will also meet with approval from reviewing regulatory bodies, as it generates and stores accurate information about the resident work environment. This program is robust and versatile enough to be modified for any GME training program in the country.
1. Watson D. Relationship between locus of control and anxiety. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1967;6:91–2.
Peer-reviewed Collection of Reports on Innovative Approaches to Medical Education© 2002 Association of American Medical Colleges