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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Residency Applicants Prefer Online System for Scheduling Interviews


Introduction: Residency coordinators may be overwhelmed when scheduling residency interviews.Applicants often have to coordinate interviews with multiple programs at once, and relying on verbalor email confirmation may delay the process. Our objective was to determine applicant mean time toschedule and satisfaction using online scheduling.

Methods: This pilot study is a retrospective analysis performed on a sample of applicants offeredinterviews at an urban county emergency medicine residency. Applicants were asked their estimatedtime to schedule with the online system compared to their average time using other methods. Inaddition, they were asked on a five-point anchored scale to rate their satisfaction.

Results: Of 171 applicants, 121 completed the survey (70.8%). Applicants were scheduling anaverage of 13.3 interviews. Applicants reported scheduling interviews using the online systemin mean of 46.2 minutes (median 10, range 1-1800) from the interview offer as compared with amean of 320.2 minutes (median 60, range 3-2880) for other programs not using this system. Thisdifference was statistically significant. In addition, applicants were more likely to rate their satisfactionusing the online system as “satisfied” (83.5% vs 16.5%). Applicants were also more likely to statethat they preferred scheduling their interviews using the online system rather than the way otherprograms scheduled interviews (74.2% vs 4.1%) and that the online system aided them coordinatingtravel arrangements (52.1% vs 4.1%).

Conclusion: An online interview scheduling system is associated with higher satisfaction amongapplicants both in coordinating travel arrangements and in overall satisfaction. [West J Emerg Med.2015;16(2):352-354.]

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