Administrative Grades Boost Resident Paperwork Completion

Julie McCoy, for HealthLeaders Media, January 5, 2011

Program directors and coordinators can spend countless hours chasing after residents to get them to complete administrative tasks, such as evaluations, procedure logs, and duty hour reporting. 

Between restricted work hours, educational commitments, and patient care responsibilities, residents often put paperwork on the backburner.  

“Individuals in residency programs are overwhelmed by the large amount of work they have to do for ACGME [Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education] documentation purposes,” says John R. Barbour, MD, fellow in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston. 

However, submission of documentation showing how the program meets ACGME standards is critical to maintaining accreditation. Site visitors want to see completed evaluations, duty hour reports, and procedure logs. 

Additionally, without data provided on evaluations and procedure logs, the program misses out on feedback regarding the quality of education received on a rotation or from an attending physician. Without that feedback, it becomes difficult for educational leaders to identify areas for improvement.  

Although residency management systems have streamlined the collection of many administrative items, compliance with documentation requirements can still be a problem for programs. 

One way to get residents motivated about completing required documentation is to publicly display an administrative grade. Barbour and program leaders took this route. They graded surgery residents on their ability to turn in paperwork and logs and saw compliance rates increase dramatically. “Everyone averaged 30%–40% compliance until we displayed a grade publicly, and then everyone went to far greater than 80%, with most people above 95%,” says Barbour.


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