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J Surg Educ. 2009 Jul-Aug;66(4):212-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2009.03.034.

The impact of residency match information disseminated by a third-party website.

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1
Department of Urological Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

Over the past 10 years, a dramatic shift has occurred toward web-based applications and information dissemination both for medical students applying to residency programs and for current housestaff seeking specialty-specific information. This shift has been witnessed in urology with adoption of the Internet-based Electronic Residency Application Service for residency application submission. Currently, most residency programs devote significant attention to developing and maintaining an attractive web page, as studies have suggested departmental websites may impact applicants' decisions regarding residency preference lists.(1,2) Recently, some third-party websites have been established to provide information to medical students and residents in a variety of specialties. No studies are available that evaluate the impact of these external websites on residency decision making. In 2003, a website under the domain name www.UrologyMatch.com was created by 2 coauthors (A.K. and T.M.M.) with the purpose of assisting medical students through the American Urological Association (AUA) match process. Additionally, by providing a discussion forum for students, residents, and faculty, it sought to aid with the dissemination of information between urology programs and applicants. The website has been gradually expanded to provide educational content for urology trainees at a wide range of levels. Components of the website include an introduction to the field of urology, a detailed description of the match process, an "expert advice" section from urologic leaders, a library of relevant Internet links, a digital surgical atlas, and program-specific questionnaire responses provided by residency directors and department chairs. A discussion board providing an uncensored forum for visitors is integrated into the website to aid with the dissemination of information between and among urology programs, residents, and applicants. The high usage of this site has suggested that external websites may have a marked impact on the residency application process. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the role of www.UrologyMatch.com in the AUA match process. During the 2007-2008 urology residency match, we evaluated whether information disseminated through the website influenced medical students' decisions to enter the field of urology and whether this information factored into the generation of residency preference lists. We hypothesized that information on this website played a significant role in decision making throughout the urology residency match experience.

PMID:
19896626
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsurg.2009.03.034
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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