A nationwide survey of emergency medicine resident workflow efficiency: Are training programs teaching residents to be efficient?

Guy Carmelli, Erin E. Watson, Nadia A. Villarroel, William W. Dixon, Samuel O. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Workflow efficiency (WFE) is essential to the practice of emergency medicine (EM), but a standardized approach to measuring and teaching it during residency is lacking. In this study we sought to describe how EM residency programs in the United States currently measure and teach WFE and to assess the relative importance of WFE teaching to EM residency program leaders. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of all accredited EM residency training programs in the United States in Fall 2019. We invited all allopathic EM residency programs to participate in the study by directly emailing program directors and assistant/associate program directors. We conducted the study and performed descriptive statistics using SurveyMonkey software. Results: We received a total of 133 responses out of 190 total programs (70%) with proportionate representation from 3- and 4-year programs and all regions of the United States. When asked to what extent teaching efficiency should be a priority compared to other educational goals, 65% of program leaders responded with “significant” or “moderate” priority. Most EM programs collect WFE data on their residents, either by tracking patients per hour (78%) or by written evaluations (59%). Common methods for providing WFE data to residents were: “individual data provided along with deidentified rank” (35%), “data provided only during private feedback meetings” (26%), and “no data or rank provided to residents” (16%). Regarding targeted WFE teaching to residents, 88% reported utilizing general on-shift teaching, 48% reported teaching WFE during formal didactics, and 45% during dedicated private feedback sessions. Conclusion: This national study of allopathic U.S. EM programs suggests that most EM program leaders do value WFE teaching. However, we found no consistent approach among programs for tracking or distributing resident WFE data, and many programs lack a formalized way to teach efficiency to their residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10598
JournalAEM Education and Training
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Education
  • Emergency


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