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  • Cost Control: The Use of Social Media and Medical Student Interest Group Chapters to Reduce Interview Costs

    Final Number:

    Bryan A lieber BA; Taylor Anne Wilson BS; Randy Scott Bell MD; Nitin Agarwal MD; Stacey Quintero-Wolfe

    Study Design:

    Subject Category:

    Meeting: Congress of Neurological Surgeons 2014 Annual Meeting

    Introduction: The average matched neurosurgery residency candidate attended 15.2 interviews in 2011 [1]. The cost of hotel rooms, taxis and car rentals can be prohibitive. We assessed interviewee desire to share room and transportation, the preferred modality to coordinate cost sharing and overall willingness to stay in a local students dorm rooms.

    Methods: A survey link was posted on the Uncle Harvey website and the Facebook profile page of fourth year medical students from six different schools shortly after match day.

    Results: There were a total of 155 respondents to our survey. The majority of the respondents were medical students post-interview tour (27.7% medical student pre-interview tour, 65.8% medical student post-interview tour, 6.5% current residents) (Graph 1). Most respondents were pursuing a field other than neurosurgery (25.7% neurosurgery, 74.3% non-neurosurgery). Most respondents expressed a desire to share a hotel room and/or transportation on an interview (77.9% yes, 22.1% no). Students going into neurosurgery were significantly more likely than those going into other specialties to be interested in sharing hotel/transportation (89.2% neurosurgery, 72.8% non-neurosurgery; p = 0.045) and to stay in the dorm room of a local student (85.0% neurosurgery, 57.1% non-neurosurgery; p = 0.040) on interviews. Roughly a third of interviewees spent over 5,000 dollars on sharable expenses (Graph 2). Facebook and a free, no registration, anonymous (e-mail identification only) chat room were preferred over Whatsapp and google groups (Graph 3). Facebook was preferred by students pre-interview (52.3% pre-interview, 25.0% post-interview; p = 0.007) and the anonymous chat was preferred by students post-interview (13.6% pre-interview, 34.0% post-interview; p = 0.007).

    Conclusions: Consideration should be made to create a system, similar to the anonymous chat room, which would allow students to coordinate cost sharing between interviewees. Students should be connected to relevant student interest club members to share their dorm rooms.

    Patient Care: With decreased interview costs residents will be selected based more on a meritocracy and less on ability to fund a large quantity of interviews. Thus, the patient's care team can be optimized.

    Learning Objectives: By the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to: 1) Approximate sharable interview costs per student, 2) Identify two ways to significantly mitigate students interview expenditures, 3) Identify the communication platform most conducive to interview cost sharing.

    References: 1. National Resident Matching Program, Charting Outcomes in the Match, 2011. National Resident Matching Program, Washington, DC 2011.

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