'July Effect' taking toll on hospital patients' health?

July 12, 2011 4:54:26 AM PDT
If you need to schedule a medical procedure, now may not be the best time because of what's called the July Effect.

The term refers to a purported drop in the quality of care at teaching hospitals in July, which is typically when experienced physicians leave and are replaced with new, less experienced ones.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that at teaching hospitals in July, there is an increased mortality rate, longer hospital stays and longer surgical times.

To protect patients, some hospitals are keeping their best physicians on duty to smooth the transition.