OHSU surgery residents chosen for ACGME Back to Bedside Initiative

Competitive grant program empowers trainees to engage on a deeper level with patients

October 31, 2017

Two OHSU general surgery residents are recipients of a competitive grant aimed at improving resident-patient interaction while reducing burnout. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education announced in March the launch of its highly anticipated Back to Bedside initiative – a program created by residents for residents. Trainees around the country responded with 223 proposals for improvement;the quality and innovative thinking behind this response led to the ACGME increasing their specified number of awards from five to 30. Heather Hoops, M.D., and Katherine Kelley, M.D., applied jointly and were among the 30 selected; they met for the first time with the other awardees on Oct. 26 in Chicago to kick off the program.

Drs. Karen Brasel, Katherine Kelley and Heather HoopsDrs. Hoops and Kelley's proposal focuses on improving resident-patient interaction by inviting patients to participate in their weekly resident education conferences. They reference studies that document the overwhelming incidence of surgeon burnout due to depersonalization from the increasing burden of medical documentation and decreased time spent with patients. In addition, studies demonstrate a disconnect between the information surgeons provide patients in clinic and the type of information patients and families want to hear.

Beginning in February 2018, faculty-identified surgery patients will be invited to participate in the Department of Surgery's resident education conferences on a condition relevant to their disease or prior surgical procedure. By having patients and their families discuss their experiences in the pre-operative and post-operative settings, Drs. Hoops and Kelley hope to improve the physician-patient relationship by helping residents more fully appreciate what their patients experience before and after certain procedures.

Over the next two years, Drs. Hoops and Kelley will work with faculty advisor and Program Director Karen Brasel, M.D., professor of surgery, OHSU School of Medicine, to disseminate their model to additional OHSU departments, presenting their results to a national audience following completion of the two-year term. Their work, as well as the efforts of the entire Back to Bedside initiative, shows great promise for improving the health of both patients and providers.

In a statement from ACGME following October's kick-off:

"We are thrilled with the engagement from residents and fellows around Back to Bedside. Our hope is to cultivate a community of practice around physician and patient well-being by sharing strategies, resources, and processes developed through this initiative."

Pictured (left to right): Surgery residency Program Director Dr. Brasel with Drs. Kelley and Hoops, who are recipients of an ACGME Back to Bedside award.