Protected Time for Research During Orthopaedic Residency Correlates with an Increased Number of Resident Publications

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Abstract

Background:

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requires orthopaedic residency programs to promote scholarship and research, which manifest differently among programs. We assess the impact of protected research time during orthopaedic residency on the number of resident publications.

Methods:

Rotation schedules and resident names were collected from 125 ACGME-accredited U.S. orthopaedic residency programs. Protected research time was classified as 1 of 3 types: (1) block time, (2) longitudinal time, or (3) no dedicated time. In April 2016, we searched residents in postgraduate year (PGY)-3 to PGY-5 on pubmed.gov to generate all orthopaedic publications with a PubMed identifier published during residency. Each publication’s 2015 Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports 5-Year Journal Impact Factor and resident first authorship were noted. The number of PubMed identifiers for each program was summed and was divided by the number of residents in PGY-3 to PGY-5, giving a mean number of publications per resident. The relationship between output and program research time was compared using t tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Results:

A total of 1,690 residents were included, with an overall mean number (and standard deviation) of 1.2 ± 2.4 publications per resident. Eighty-seven programs reported block time, 14 programs reported longitudinal time, and 24 programs reported no time. There was a significant difference (p = 0.02) in the mean number of publications per resident when compared between programs with protected time (1.1 ± 1.2 publications) and programs with no protected time (0.6 ± 0.5 publication). One-way ANOVA demonstrated a significant mean difference across the 3 groups (p < 0.001), with longitudinal time correlating with significantly greater output at 1.9 ± 1.8 publications than block time at 1.0 ± 1.0 publication or no time at 0.6 ± 0.5 publication, a difference that persisted when adjusted to include only impact factors of >0 and exclude case reports (p = 0.0015).

Conclusions:

Both the presence of and the type of dedicated research time correlate with residents’ research productivity; further consideration of protected research time during residency is warranted.

Clinical Relevance:

This article provides objective data with regard to research strategies in training orthopaedic surgeons.

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