Radiation Oncology History/Education/Social Media

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TU_45_2927 - A Window to Internet-Based Information Seeking of US Fourth-Year Medical Students: Are Radiation Oncology Residency Program Websites Comprehensive?

Tuesday, October 23
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: Innovation Hub, Exhibit Hall 3

A Window to Internet-Based Information Seeking of US Fourth-Year Medical Students: Are Radiation Oncology Residency Program Websites Comprehensive?
A. V. Prabhu1, P. Karukonda2, D. R. Hansberry3, D. E. Heron4, and C. R. Thomas Jr5; 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, 2Department of Radiation Oncology, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, PA, 3Department of Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Philadelphia, PA, 4UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, PA, 5OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Portland, OR

Purpose/Objective(s): Fourth-year medical students interested in radiation oncology residency positions often use the Internet as a tool to evaluate residency programs. Many applicants may make their first impression of a radiation oncology residency program based on its website. The specific aim of this study was to evaluate the comprehensiveness of radiation oncology residency program websites. We hypothesized that these websites would contain a dearth of information for interested applicants.

Materials/Methods: A list of 87 radiation oncology residency programs participating in the National Resident Matching Program was obtained from the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Each residency program’s website was then accessed through ERAS or a search using Google. Two authors independently reviewed each website for the presence of 21 unique criteria. Information was considered present if available on the official institutionally-linked radiation oncology residency and/or departmental website. Residency programs were categorized by size and geographic location as described by the US census bureau. Student’s t test and analysis of variance were used to compare the presence of website criteria by program size and region, respectively.

Results: In ERAS, 25 of 86 (29.1%) programs had broken or missing links under their program pages; 1 program had an inaccessible program page. Eighty-six residency programs had websites that were found through ERAS or a search on Google. On average, program websites had 11.2 ± 3.2 (53.3%) of the 21 factors sought, ranging from having as few as 5 (23.8%) to as many as 17 (81.0%). Thirty-three (38.4%) program websites had fewer than 50% of the criteria included; only 5 (5.8%) program websites addressed at least 80% of the 21 criteria. Zero (0%) programs had all 21 factors displayed. More than three-fourths of all websites included a comprehensive faculty listing (94.2%), residency contact email (88.4%), facility description (86.0%), didactics and physics curriculum description (84.9%), current resident listing (83.7%), research description (81.4%), and published research projects by faculty (77.9%). Less than 25% of all websites included information on call schedule (23.3%), meal allowance (23.3%), selection criteria (18.6%), and conference presentations given by residents (15.1%). There was no significant difference among the number of criteria included on a website based on program location (p=0.78), though programs in the Midwest had the highest rate of criteria inclusion (12.3 ± 3.4) while programs in the Northeast had the lowest rate of criteria inclusion (10.5 ± 2.6). Larger programs (>8 residents) had a significantly higher number of criteria included on their websites than that of smaller programs (12.6 ± 2.7 versus 10.9 ± 3.2, p=0.02).

Conclusion: Opportunities exist for radiation oncology residency programs to comprehensively revise their program websites to better utilize them as effective recruitment and educational resources.

Author Disclosure: A.V. Prabhu: None. P. Karukonda: None. D.R. Hansberry: None. D.E. Heron: No personal compensation; Accuray Exchange in Radiation Oncology. Partnership; Cancer Treatment Services International. Vice Chairman of Clinical Affairs; University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Director of Radiation Services; UPMC CancerCenter.

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