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Surgeons report that 12-hour shifts improve patient outcomes, lower costs

For covering emergency and urgent operations, hospitals have traditionally assigned general surgeons to 24-hour on-call schedules, which often puts them in a situation where they need to operate and make complex medical decisions after being on duty for 18 or 20 hours or more. However, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Tex., has used a model to cap surgeon shifts at 12 hours for covering surgical emergencies, and a study has shown that it led to shorter hospital stays and lower overall costs for patients with acute appendicitis, according to findings presented at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2019.

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