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Invited Commentary
April 15, 2019

A Modern Snapshot of the Daily Work of Medical Interns—The Burden of Indirect Patient Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(6):767-768. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0092

The daily work of a medical trainee has changed. This much is as clear as it is predictable. During our residency training less than a decade ago, we heard stories about the “good old days” when residents would trek to the medical library to make photocopies of articles to bring to rounds the next day to inform their clinical care. We were told about hunting for physical radiology films and collecting laboratory results on carbon paper printouts. Back then, a time-motion study following interns would almost certainly include much more time and motion in the hospital than it would today. Although these stories are suffused with the sepia tones of nostalgia, few would argue that these activities were better for medical care or education than instantaneously available up-to-date medical information, high-definition computerized films, and real-time laboratory results.

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