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The ’July Effect’ is alive and well: Study

The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2011

Conventional wisdom holds you should try to stay out of the hospital in July if at all possible, since that's when new medical residents report for duty. But while there have been studies looking at the question -- like one published last year suggesting there are more fatal medication errors in July -- until now, there hasn't been a major review of the research on the topic. Researchers at the UCSF School of Medicine looked at 39 published studies and concluded that while there is mixed evidence, "our analysis suggests that mortality increases during the changeover months," says co-author John Young, associate program director of the residency training program in the school's department of psychiatry. Lower efficiency, as measured by longer hospital stays and surgical times and higher hospital charges, also seem to be a particular problem during the seventh month of the year.