The COVID-19 pandemic shifted many in-person activities to virtual settings. Given nationwide travel restrictions and recommendations from the Association of American Medical Colleges, subspecialty program directors for obstetrics and gynecology conducted interviews using a virtual platform for 2020. The impact of virtual interviews (VI) on a candidates’ ability to effectively create a rank list is unknown. The primary objective was to evaluate obstetrics and gynecology subspecialty fellowship applicants’ perspectives regarding the effectiveness of VI for creating a rank list. Secondary outcomes included perceived advantages and disadvantages of the process, including preference of interview type, cost, and time savings.
This was a cross-sectional electronic survey administered to a convenience sample of obstetrics and gynecology subspecialty applicants. This institutional review board-exempt survey was administered via REDCap. Descriptive statistics were used.
Response rate was 158 of 330 (48%). Nearly all (99%) applicants cited cost savings as a distinct advantage of VI. Overall, 82% percent of respondents felt confident in making their rank list based on the VI, and 92% were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the process. Most respondents (91%) preferred Zoom to other virtual platforms. Of those who expressed an interview style preference (in-person versus VI), 44% of respondents preferred VI; 33% had no preference or were not sure.
The majority of applicants to obstetrics and gynecology subspecialty fellowships felt confident to create a rank list based on VI. This study indicates that the virtual format is suitable for fellowship interviews and can be utilized beyond the pandemic to improve equity and diversity in the applicant pool.