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Medicine

The July Effect Makes Hospitals Riskier In July

Every July, newly graduated medical students begin the next step in their education by becoming interns at teaching hospitals. The first month at any job can be a challenge, but in a hospital, how fast interns learn the ropes can be a matter of life or death. The risks to patients during this period are so familiar that experienced physicians have a saying: "Don't get sick in July." But even though the July Effect, as it's called, seems obvious, the research has gone back and forth. Reviews published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine in 2010 and the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2011 both found that although research varies, the highest-quality studies of the July Effect most often do find an increased risk of patient death at teaching hospitals during that month. A 2013 study in the journal Circulation found something even more interesting: overall, patients at teaching hospitals have a lower risk of death than at non-teaching hospitals, but in July, that difference disappears. Still, the research that does find an effect finds a pretty small one for the general population, so unless you're a particularly high-risk patient, there isn't overwhelming reason for concern. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The July Effect occurs when fresh medical students start as interns at hospitals in early July. 00:09

  2. According to a 2010 study, patients face a 10% increased risk of fatal medication errors at teaching hospitals in July. 00:26

  3. A big-picture 2011 review found that just six of 39 studies saw the effect, but the ones deemed high quality were those more likely to find it. 00:46

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