Document Type

Conference Proceeding - Restricted Access

Publication Date


Publication Title

Academic Emergency Medicine


Background and Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic required significant changes be implemented to the residency application process including a move to a virtual format for all interviews. While prior research has shown that virtual interviews can supplement traditional in-person interviews, little is known about the use of an exclusively virtual format. We conducted a survey of applicants to an Emergency Medicine (EM) residency program to better understand how use of solely virtual interviews affects applicant perspectives and decision making. Methods: Applicants to an EM residency program were selected to interview through the program’s previously established protocol. An anonymous Qualtrics survey was sent by email to interviewees to assess their perspective and behavior in regard to virtual interviews. Descriptive statistical analysis was done to characterize the results of this survey and Mann-Whitney U tests were done to compare survey responses among demographic groups. Results: 102 surveys were distributed and there were 41 survey respondents giving a 40% response rate. A plurality of respondents (46.3%) reported applying to between 40-60 programs and 24.3% reported applying to greater than 60. 46.3% of respondents reported they changed the geographic distribution of their applications as a result of the changes this year and 58.5% reported being familiar with an area would be important in making a rank order list. An average of 13.5 interviews was believed to be required to successfully match. 82.9% of respondents had some confidence in the ability of programs to accurately assess them and 73.1% reported they could represent themselves well in a virtual setting. Only 26.8% of respondents reported having never experienced audio, video, or connection quality issues in one of their interviews this year. 19.5% of survey respondents supported continued use of virtual interviews following resolution of the pandemic. No significant difference in responses were observed in regard to USMLE Step exam score, gender, or other demographic groups. Conclusion: Applicants to EM residency programs during the COVID-19 pandemic believed more interviews would be required this year increased the importance of geography in decision making. While respondents overall felt virtual interviews were accurate many reported having experienced technical issues with this format and there was low support for its continued use.




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Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Annual Meeting, Virtual, May 11-14, 2021.