Could the future of internal medicine residency recruitment be hybrid?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced residency programs to change their approach to interviews, switching from traditional face-to-face meetings to virtual conversations via computer video.

According to a new survey of internal medicine residents published in JAMA Internal Medicine, only 3% want to continue with virtual-only interviews. In residents’ opinion, the best recruiting approach in the future will be a hybrid of virtual interviews with the option of coming to campus.

Amy Zarth, M.D.

“We ask people to commit to being somewhere for three years for internal medicine and up to seven years for other training programs. “We respect their desire to interact with people who may be ill,” said Amy, senior author of the study, professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, and director of the Duke Internal Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Zass said.

The study, conducted by lead author Alec B. O’Connor, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and MPH with Zarth and colleagues, will help revolutionize the residency recruitment process that determines where medical students complete their studies. be. training. He reportedly 26% of surveyed residents wanted a virtual option, even if face-to-face meetings became the norm again.

Virtual interviews are convenient and cost effective for students and programs. Virtual interviews make the hiring process fairer, even for students with fewer resources to cover food, housing, and transportation.

However, concerns remain about the impact of virtual recruitment on the assessment process and on application inflation, which is an increase in the average number of applications per student.

The study was based on 22,310 responses collected from medical residents who took the American College of Physicians’ Internal Medicine residency exam in the fall of 2021. 80% of respondents believe applicants are applying to more or more programs through virtual recruitment compared to traditional recruitment.

But virtual adoption isn’t the only cause of application inflation. The trend began even before the pandemic-era shift to virtual interviews, said Saas, former chair of the Research and Scholarships Committee of the Association of Internal Medicine Program Directors.

“I don’t know if returning to face-to-face interviews will curb application inflation,” she said. “They may choose to be interviewed in fewer places, but they won’t choose to apply for fewer places because they have too much anxiety,” said the Priority Stay program. about participating.

But she said: “Since there is a fee for each application, inflation is a disadvantage to medical students, so I think they have to manage inflation somehow.

Compressed timeframes to handle thousands of applications are challenging for residency programs.

Medical students will begin applying for the training program in late August/September. The interview season typically runs from November through his January, with programs and students ranking their preferences before decisions are announced on Match Day in March.

There is a proposal to expedite the submission deadline for Ranked Lists to allow for in-person visits other than evaluation. Mr. O’Connor, an associate in internal medicine training at URMC and his program director, is conducting a secondary study on the step-by-step process of recruiting residents.

Meanwhile, the Association of American Medical Colleges recently announced that this year’s residency and fellowship programs should follow a virtual interview format to reduce the financial burden on residents and increase fairness.

Virtual interviews are also consistent with the efforts academic medicine is making to reduce its environmental impact. While each program has its own mission, goals, and context, the AAMC believes hospitals and healthcare systems should assess the strengths and weaknesses of interview formats to determine what is best for their program or specialty. said there is.

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