Failure on the American board of surgery examinations of general surgery residency graduates correlates positively with states' malpractice risk

Daniel L. Dent, Mohammed J. Al Fayyadh, Jeremy A. Rawlings, Ramy A. Hassan, Jason W. Kempenich, Ross E. Willis, Ronald M. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

It has been suggested that in environments where there is greater fear of litigation, resident autonomy and education is compromised. Our aim was to examine failure rates on American Board of Surgery (ABS) examinations in comparison with medical malpractice payments in 47 US states/ territories that have general surgery residency programs. We hypothesized higher ABS examination failure rates for general surgery residents who graduate from residencies in states with higher malpractice risk.We conducted a retrospective review of five-year (2010-2014) pass rates of first-time examinees of the ABS examinations. States' malpractice data were adjusted based on population. ABS examinations failure rates for programs in states with above and below median malpractice payments per capita were 31 and 24 per cent (P < 0.01) respectively. This difference was seen in university and independent programs regardless of size. Pearson correlation confirmed a significant positive correlation between board failure rates and malpractice payments per capita for Qualifying Examination (P < 0.02), Certifying Examination (P < 0.02), and Qualifying and Certifying combined index (P < 0.01). Malpractice risk correlates positively with graduates' failure rates on ABS examinations regardless of program size or type. We encourage further examination of training environments and their relationship to surgical residency graduate performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-402
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Volume84
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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