Impact of Virtual Interviews on Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Match: An Analysis of National Data


North Florida


North Florida Regional Medical Center

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internship and residency, graduate medical education, technology, virtual interviews


Critical Care | Internal Medicine | Medical Education | Medicine and Health Sciences


Background: Internal Medicine residents have historically expressed hesitancy in pursuing a career in pulmonary and critical care medicine (PCCM). However, recent studies have demonstrated newfound competitiveness. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) global outbreak prompted the implementation of a virtual interviewing model for PCCM fellowship match. The effect of this new paradigm on PCCM match results has not been studied previously.

Objective: With the shift to virtual interviewing, we aim to determine how this new method of interviewing may influence the selection of candidates for fellowship training programs.

Methods: We acquired data of 4,333 applicants ranking PCCM for the years 2017–2021 from the National Resident Matching Program and the Electronic Residency Application Service websites for the years 2017–2021. Chi-square (χ2) analysis of the applicants’ demographics and the percentage of applicants matching at their first choice versus those who matched at lower than their third-choice program before and after the implementation of virtual interviews season was performed.

Results: The matching probability for the U.S. Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine significantly increased after the implementation of virtual interviews compared with the years 2017–2020 (χ2 = 8.569; P = 0.003). The matching probability remained unchanged for U.S. Doctors of Medicine (χ2 = 2.448; P = 0.118). Overall, an applicant’s probability of matching at their first choice has significantly decreased after the virtual interview format (χ2 = 4.14; P = 0.04). Conversely, the probability of matching at a program that is lower than the third choice has significantly increased (χ2 = 11.039; P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Our study provides evidence regarding the effect of the virtual interview format on PCCM match results. Strikingly, applicants are more likely to match at lower-ranked programs in their rank list after the implementation of the virtual interview process. These results can be helpful for both programs and applicants, to guide their future expectations and decisions while going through the interview process.


Published online ahead of print.

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