Evidence-based matching

So, I'm applying to Emergency Medicine residencies. And, just like with college and medical school applications, there's a little anxiety associated with the enterprise.

Fortunately, unlike the college and med school process, this time around I've got evidence-based interview advice.

Some residency applicants believe that the date on which they interview with a residency program influences how the program ranks them in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Therefore, the authors studied whether interview date affects match list position in the emergency medicine (EM) residency match. METHODS: Forty-four Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited EM residency programs participated in this multicenter study. The interview date and match list position were collected for each interviewee for the 1997-98 season... RESULTS: Twenty-three programs, representing 1,997 interviews, reported potential bias in their interview date assignment... Two-sample t-tests for all programs, and programs with and without reported bias showed no significant difference in average interview date for ranked and unranked interviewees (both with p > 0.2). CONCLUSION: In this study, interview date for EM residency positions in the 1997-98 season did not affect match list position among ranked applicants. Moreover, interview date had nno effect on the decision to leave candidates unranked.

Thanks! That's a relief.

In fact, the previous post was inspired by studies like this. If people can pore over matching data to assuage the fears of the 1200 annual EM resident applicants, who knows what else dedicated statisticians could come up with?

METHODS: PDs of 120 EM residencies were mailed a 22 question survey immediately following the 1999 match... Forty-seven percent of PDs (always or frequently) told applicants to keep in touch if interested in the program. However, 88% of PDs were skeptical or did not believe an applicant's communicated intent to rank the program 'high,' nor did this communication influence an applicant's rank order (75%). Forty-two percent of PDs reported informal commitments by applicants. PDs frequently felt lied to by applicants (always (4%), frequently (42%), sometimes (42%)). Applicants often ask how the program intends to rank them. Highly ranked applicants receive positive responses from 61% of PDs vs. 33% of PDs who give negative responses to low ranked applicants. Ten percent of PDs offer residency positions outside of the match. CONCLUSIONS: Applicants who interview in >1 specialty are viewed negatively by PDs. Post-interview communications by applicants are viewed with skepticism. Gamesmanship is practiced commonly during the resident selection process.

Sheesh. Never mind.