Pandemic Cut Orthopedic Residency Application Cycle Expenses

Difference attributed to the use of virtual interviews and lack of away rotations

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WEDNESDAY, Jan. 5, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- In the COVID-19 residency application cycle, the median expenditures of orthopedic residency candidates were $5,000 lower than in the previous year, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

Adam M. Gordon, from Maimonides Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues assessed the impact of changes in the orthopedic surgery residency match process (e.g., elimination of in-person interviews and away rotations) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis included responses from an online survey of 263 orthopedic surgery residency applicants who successfully matched to programs in the spring of 2020 (before COVID-19) and 258 from the 2021 application year.

The researchers found that for 2020 versus 2021, median total expenses ($7,250 versus $2,250), application costs ($2,250 versus $1,750), away rotation expenses ($2,750 versus $250), and interview expenses ($2,250 versus $75) all declined. Median total expenses for 2021 were lower in all geographic regions of the United States, with the greatest savings from applicants in the West ($6,000). The difference in median total expenses between the geographic region with the highest total expenses versus the lowest total expenses was lower in the pandemic year than it was in the year prior ($1,000 versus $1,500). Applicants from schools in the South ($250) and Central ($250) U.S. regions spent more in 2021 than their counterparts ($0).

"A better understanding of how differences in these expenses may influence our specialty's ability to attract socioeconomically diverse candidates would be important, and we need to explore perceived and actual financial obstacles to obtaining this diversity in the application process," the authors write.

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