New! Coalition for Physician Accountability Releases Recommendations on 2021-22 Residency Season Interviewing

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 24, 2021) The Coalition for Physician Accountability has released recommendations on 2021-22 Residency Season Interviewing for Medical Education Institutions Considering Applicants from LCME-Accredited, U.S. Osteopathic, and Non-U.S. Medical Schools. The recommendations were submitted by the Coalition’s Work Group on Medical Students in the Class of 2022 Moving Across Institutions for Interviews for Postgraduate Training (WG).

In developing the recommendations, the work group considered the current environment, future forecasts, and the perspectives of those closest to the issues the work group sought to address. The recommendations reflect the work group’s collective sense of how to proceed, and the work group urges each medical school, sponsoring institution, specialty society, and residency program to carefully consider them and commit to working together to create an equitable, transparent, and successful residency selection cycle that prioritizes the safety of all.

The full guidance document and recommendations are available on the Coalition for Physician Accountability’s website here.

Recommendation 1 ― Conduct Virtual Interviews for the 2021-22 Recruitment Cycle

Interest exists to extend a consistent approach to in-person interviews for the 2021-2022 residency cycle; however, recognizing the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and the near certainty, given insufficient national vaccination rates, that the pandemic will continue into the winter albeit in unpredictable ways, the WG offers the following recommendation that we hope will minimize public health risks, mitigate inequity stemming from geographic variations in pandemic impact, and provide applicants, their advisors, and programs with guidance to promote consistency and decrease anxiety.

 Recommendation: All interviews should be conducted virtually for the 2021-22 recruitment cycle due to growing concerns about the delta variant and potential risks and disruptions from potential future variants.

  • Programs should work to create a continuous, evidenced-based, standardized process to prioritize safety of applicants and others involved in the recruitment process; to mitigate bias wherever it exists; and to establish a consistent, fair, and equitable approach to reviewing and interviewing all applicants.
  • Programs should communicate their plans to medical schools and applicants as soon as possible.
  • Programs should extend effort to address the concerns about transparency raised during the 2020-21 cycle with a plan to disclose information about culture; community, patient population, physician, and other health care provider diversity; and concerns regarding variations in training and educational models.
  • Medical schools should provide guidance and advice as to best practices for virtual interviewing, and if available offer technical support and space for students who need to complete virtual interviews on-campus.

Recommendation 2 – Increase Our Understanding of Virtual Interviewing

Recommendation: Efforts should be made to assess the value of virtual interviews as well as the concerns associated with them that were evident during the 2020-2021 interview cycle.

A research agenda supporting discovery and mitigation of biases introduced by virtual interviewing should begin this year:

  • A rigorous research agenda will require well-defined metrics and available mechanisms to collect and share data; therefore, specialties, institutions, and programs are encouraged to collaborate to support improvements in the interviewing process and to share findings with the community.
  • Organizations should collect and share data on actual placement impacts during the 2022 interview cycle and changes from previous cycles.
  • Research questions that cover a range of topics that examine the impact of in-person and virtual interviews on recruitment and selection, identify inequities, and share best practices are encouraged. Some examples may include:
    • Studying the conditions in the virtual interview environment that affect selection bias by both programs and applicants.
    • Describing applicant characteristics that are subject to bias during virtual interviews and in ranking behavior. Identify best practices for mitigating these biases. Compare and contrast how these same applicant characteristics, biases, and mitigation strategies correlate with in-person interviews.
    • Outlining best practices for identifying and mitigating biases during virtual interviewing for applicants and programs.
    • Determining the impact of time and cost savings on the number of virtual interviews candidates complete. What is the impact on Match rates?
    • Exploring alignment of applicant and program values before and after virtual interviewing.
    • Exploring the impact of cognitive load on interviewers’ scores that result from completing more interviews and establishing best practices for mitigation.
    • Standardizing the Virtual Interview Day: Best Practices.
    • Studying the impact of virtual interviewing on training sites that are historically difficult to fill (i.e., rural, newly accredited, FQHC, etc.).
    • Identifying characteristics (i.e., small vs. large specialty, rural vs. urban) of programs conducting virtual interviews that experienced an increase in the expected number of applicants. Similarly, identify characteristics of programs that experienced fewer applicants than expected.
    • Determining whether virtual (compared to in-person) interviews impact Match rates.
    • Exploring whether applicant training/career choice and satisfaction have changed since the introduction of virtual interviews:
      • Have applicants selected geographic sites they may not have pre-pandemic?
      • Have applicants changed or broadened their specialty options? Impact on satisfaction?

 About the Coalition for Physician Accountability

 The Coalition for Physician Accountability is a membership organization designed to advance health care and promote professional accountability by improving the quality, efficiency, and continuity of the education, training, and assessment of physicians. Founded in 2011, current membership consists of senior leadership and governance representatives from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), American Medical Association (AMA), American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates|Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (ECFMG®|FAIMER®), Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), NBME, the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), and the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). In addition, the Joint Commission and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) serve as liaison members. The Coalition also appoints public members to its membership to ensure adequate representation of the public voice in the deliberations of the Coalition.