Recruiting the Digital-Age Applicant: The Impact of Ophthalmology Residency Program Web Presence on Residency Recruitment
15 June 2017
24 January 2018
28 February 2018 (online)
Background The phenomenon of internet dependence has changed the way the rising generation seeks information. This mentality has caused medical students to turn to online resources as they seek information about potential residency training programs. Residency program web presence (PWP) is increasingly important, and may even impact recruitment efforts. Improvement of PWP could enhance programs' recruitment of ideal candidates.
Objectives The purpose of this study is to assess how ophthalmology residency PWP is impacting the residency recruitment process by understanding how it influences applicants' application and rank list choices as well as to identify the contributing factors.
Methods Applicants applying for ophthalmology residency training at Penn State University during the 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 application cycles were surveyed using Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap). Surveys sought applicants' perspectives with respect to their experiences with PWP and how those experiences shaped their application and rank list decisions.
Results Of 860 applicants, 214 (24.9%) responded, accounting for 17.4% (214/1,228) of all ophthalmology residency applicants during the respective cycles; 72.4% of respondents expressed PWP does impact where they apply, how they form their rank list, or both; 93.4% said websites are an important resource during the application process; 47.2% conveyed interest in programs utilizing social media tools; and 76.5% of respondents felt websites gave sufficient information less than 50% of the time.
Conclusion Ophthalmology PWP does impact resident recruitment. By enhancing program websites and adding social media tools, programs can improve recruitment efforts.
Keywordsophthalmology residency - website - social media - web presence - recruitment - residency application - residency match
The Pennsylvania State University Institutional Review Board approved this study.
Oral presentation at 2016 Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), Program Coordinator's Annual Meeting, January 28, 2016, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Presenter: Mark Goerlitz-Jessen.
Applicant survey tool used in this study.
- 1 Pew Research Center. Generations. Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/2010/12/16/generations-2010/ . Accessed September 10, 2015
- 2 Pew Research Center. Social Media Usage: 2005–2015. Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/ . Accessed September 10, 2015
- 3 Brazin LR. Sources of information on postgraduate medical training programs – 2002 update. Med Ref Serv Q 2002; 21 (02) 1-14
- 4 Delzell Jr JE, Weick R, Weick M. How do medical students gather information about residency training programs?. Mo Med 2003; 100 (02) 153-154
- 5 Winters RC, Hendey GW. Do web sites catch residency applicants?. Acad Emerg Med 1999; 6 (09) 968-972
- 6 Deloney LA, Perrot LJ, Lensing SY, Jambhekar K. Radiology resident recruitment: A study of the impact of web-based information and interview day activities. Acad Radiol 2014; 21 (07) 931-937
- 7 Schweitzer J, Hannan A, Coren J. The role of social networking web sites in influencing residency decisions. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2012; 112 (10) 673-679
- 8 Mahler SA, Wagner MJ, Church A, Sokolosky M, Cline DM. Importance of residency program web sites to emergency medicine applicants. J Emerg Med 2009; 36 (01) 83-88
- 9 Kumar A, Sigal Y, Wilson E. Web sites and pediatric residency training programs in the United States. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2008; 47 (01) 21-24
- 10 Mayo GL, Lindhorst GC, Rosende C. American ophthalmology graduate medical education and the web: current state of internet resource utilization. Am J Ophthalmol 2003; 135 (05) 708-709
- 11 Ashack KA, Burton KA, Soh JM. , et al. Evaluating dermatology residency program websites. Dermatol Online J 2016; 22 (03) pii :13030/qt7rx3j2dn
- 12 Reilly EF, Leibrandt TJ, Zonno AJ, Simpson MC, Morris JB. General surgery residency program websites: usefulness and usability for resident applicants. Curr Surg 2004; 61 (02) 236-240
- 13 Yousuf SJ, Kwagyan J, Jones LS. Applicants' choice of an ophthalmology residency program. Ophthalmology 2013; 120 (02) 423-427
- 14 Ebrahim S, Bowling A. Handbook of Health Research Methods: Investigation, Measurement and Analysis. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill International; 2005
- 15 San Francisco Match, Residency and Fellowship Matching Services. 2016 and 2017 Statistics. Available at: https://www.sfmatch.org/SpecialtyInsideAll.aspx?id=6&typ=2&name=Ophthalmology# . Accessed February 2, 2017
- 16 Silvestre J, Tomlinson-Hansen S, Fosnot J, Taylor JA. Plastic surgery residency websites: a critical analysis of accessibility and content. Ann Plast Surg 2014; 72 (03) 265-269
- 17 Embi PJ, Desai S, Cooney TG. Use and utility of Web-based residency program information: a survey of residency applicants. J Med Internet Res 2003; 5 (03) e22