The medical education calendar begins and ends on the first of July each year, and in the hospital, that means a brand spanking new crop of young doctors. While this may sound a bit scary, the facts are a bit subtle (and not terrifying). Some of the questions regarding the so-called July Phenomenon are:
- Are hospitals more dangerous in July?
- Is care more expensive in July?
- Are hospital stays longer in July?
The data show that there does not appear to be an increase in poor outcomes in July vs. other months, but in some fields hospital stays may be longer and care may be more expensive due to increased utilization of tests.
Most of the data that support a July phenomenon in hospitals aren’t all that strong, indicating that it’s unlikely hospital care is significantly different in July vs. other months.
July is fun though. New doctors are excited to learn and to work, and soak it up like sponges, except in crisp white coats.
Rich, Eugene C.; Hillson, Steven D.; Dowd, Bryan; Morris, Nora. Specialty Differences in the ‘July Phenomenon’ for Twin Cities Teaching Hospitals. Medical Care. 31(1):73-83, January 1993.
Barry, W., & Rosenthal, G. (2003). Is There a July Phenomenon?. The Effect of July Admission on Intensive Care Mortality and LOS in Teaching Hospitals Journal of General Internal Medicine, 18 (8), 639-645 DOI: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2003.20605.x
Myles, Thomas D. Is There an Obstetric July Phenomenon? Obstetrics & Gynecology . 102(5, Part 1):1080-1084, November 2003.
Ford, A., Bateman, B., Simpson, L., & Ratan, R. (2007). Nationwide data confirms absence of ‘July phenomenon’ in obstetrics: it’s safe to deliver in July Journal of Perinatology, 27 (2), 73-76 DOI: 10.1038/sj.jp.7211635