BACKGROUND : Residency applicants often have difficulty coordinating interviews with multiple programs. An online scheduling system might improve this process.
OBJECTIVE : The authors sought to determine applicant mean time to schedule interviews and satisfaction using online scheduling compared with manual scheduling.
METHODS : An electronic survey was sent to US graduates applying to any of 6 emergency medicine programs in the 2014-2015 application cycle. Of the participant programs, 3 used an online system and 3 did not. Applicants were asked to report estimated time to schedule with the online system compared to their average time using other methods, and to rate their satisfaction with the scheduling process.
RESULTS : Of 1720 applicants to at least 1 of the 6 programs, 856 completed the survey (49.8%). Respondents reported spending less time scheduling interviews using the online system compared to other systems (median of 5 minutes [IQR 3-10] versus 60 minutes [IQR 15-240], respectively, P < .0001). In addition, applicants preferred using the online system (93.6% versus 1.4%, P < .0001.) Applicants were also more satisfied with the ease of scheduling their interviews using the online system (91.5% versus 11.0%, P < .0001) and felt that the online system aided them in coordinating travel arrangements (74.7% versus 41.5%, P < .01.).
CONCLUSIONS : An online interview scheduling system is associated with time savings for applicants as well as higher satisfaction among applicants, both in ease of scheduling and in coordinating travel arrangements. The results likely are generalizable to other medical and surgical specialties.
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