A new survey indicates Americans want their doctors to have more time to sleep. The survey was published in the online journal BMC Medicine. It found that 90% of Americans believe the maximum shift duration should be 16 hours. Current standards allow for 30-hour shifts up to two times a week. Most individuals surveyed (85%) said they felt residents should work no more than 12 consecutive hours, and 86% responded that physicians should work fewer than 80 hours per week.
In order to gauge public opinion on the issue, researchers from an independent research firm performed 18-minute telephone interviews with 1,200 individuals in November 2009 and January 2010. The participants were asked questions about demographics, medical service use, their views on resident physician work hours and on the IOM recommendations.