The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic brought the virtual interview (VI) format to graduate medical education (GME) and the trainee recruitment process. It is unclear if applicants’ VI experience is consistent across all demographic groups. Our group collected 2 years of survey data to assess longitudinal changes in applicants’ attitudes towards the VI format. In addition, demographic data were collected, and analyses were performed to identify if between-group differences were present amongst a diverse applicant population.
We distributed an anonymous electronic survey to applicants to the pulmonary disease and critical care medicine fellowship programs at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and MetroHealth Medical Center for the 2021 and 2022 appointment years.
We received 112 responses (20% response rate) for our surveys. Although there was an overall stability of responses between the first 2 years, there were significant gender differences with applicants identifying as female more likely to recommend VI as a future model. Similarly, there were a significant difference in factor importance based on underrepresented minority (URM) status with applicants identifying as URM placing more emphasis on programs’ social media presence.
There were no significant change in the responses of applicants between the first 2 years of VI. However, subset analyses revealed multiple significant findings. These differences have implications for future iterations of the VI format.