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Plastic And Reconstructive Surgery Residency Websites: A Critical Evaluation Of Availability And Accessibility Of Educational And Recruitment Information
Fara Dayani, B.S.1, Paymon Rahgozar, MD2, Paymon Rahgozar, MD2.
1UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2UCSF, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, San Francisco, CA, USA.

PURPOSE: Residency program websites are an invaluable tool for conveying critical information for residency applicants prior to applying or interviewing for residency positions. Maintenance of a high-quality informative website is crucial for programs to recruit top candidates. The purpose of our study is to evaluate the comprehensiveness of integrated plastic and reconstructive surgery (PRS) residency websites in the U.S. as there have been no studies in the literature that investigate this topic.
METHODS: All 81 U.S. PRS integrated residency programs were identified on Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA). The website of each program were reviewed for the presence of 26 of criteria related to basic program information (current resident listing, current faculty listing, alumni listing, and mission statement of the program), clinical training (facility description, intern year schedule, resident rotation schedule, surgical case/responsibility progression, call schedule, and career placement of past residents), research ( research requirements outlined by the residency program and information regarding active/past scholarly work completed by residents), instructions (didactics schedule and extra courses outlines), application process (contact information of residency program coordinator, and specific selection criteria), and incentives (information related to surrounding area, salary, benefits, parking, and meal allowance).
RESULTS: Only 24 (29.6%) programs contained at least 50% of the criteria analyzed. On average programs reported less than 50% of information sought. Among the 81 residency program websites, a description of the following criteria was noted: comprehensive faculty listing (75%), current residents (77.9%), alumni listing (47.5%), mission statement (38.2%), description of facilities (49.0%), intern year schedule (47.1%) rotation schedule (46.2%), responsibility progression (60.6%), call schedule (16.3%), surgical statistics (4.8%), didactics (58.5%), other courses (61%), research requirements (51.9%), active/past research projects (55.8%), ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) link (58.7%), specific selection criteria for applicants (9.6%), information on surrounding area(37.5%), salary (26.9%), benefits (37.5%) parking (15.4%), and meal allowance (14.4%). The mean (SD) percentage for factors encompassing "basic information" was 65.1% (7.2%), which is significantly higher than the mean (SD) percentage of factors covered under the "incentives" category (26.3% [4.5%]; P = 0.043). The proportion of overall criteria present on websites did not differ on organizing programs by region (p=0.085).
CONCLUSION: Prior studies have demonstrated that senior medical students rely heavily on the online information provided on residency program websites to decide where to apply and interview for residency positions. Many residency websites appear to be sparse with useful educational and recruitment information, creating an opportunity to improve the quality of online information available to applicants.


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