Publication Date



Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether emergency physician productivity is associated with the risk of medical errors.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed quality assurance (QA) and billing data over 3 years at 2 urban emergency departments. Faculty physicians working 400 hours or more at either site were included. We measured physician years of experience, age, gender, patients seen per hour (PPH), and relative value units billed per hour (RVU/h). From an established QA process, we obtained adjudicated medical errors to calculate rates of medical errors per 1000 patients seen as the outcome. We discretized numeric variables and used Kruskal-Wallis testing to examine relationships between independent variables and rates of medical errors.

RESULTS: We included data for 39 physicians at site A and 42 at site B. The median rate of errors per 1000 patients was 1.6 (interquartile range [IQR], 1.1-1.9) at site A and 3.3 (IQR, 2.4-3.9) at site B. At site A, RVU/h was associated with error rates (

CONCLUSIONS: Rates of medical errors were associated with 1 metric of physician productivity at each site, with higher error rates seen among physicians with slower productivity.


Efficiency, Emergency Medicine, Medical Errors, Patient Safety, Workload



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