Analysis of Surgery Residency Website Content: Implications during the COVID-19 Era

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of surgical education




COVID-19; Fellowship match; Surgical education; Website; Wellness


BACKGROUND: Surgery residency program websites (SRW) are an important source of information for prospective applicants. The COVID-19 pandemic spurred a pivot from the traditional in-person interview format to interviews via virtual platforms. Because of the inability to meet in person, the information provided on program websites takes on an increased relevance to applicants. We hypothesized that SRW may be missing content important to applicants. Our study aims to assess SRW for the content which impacts the applicant decision-making process. METHODS: An internal survey distributed to fourth-year medical students in 2020 at a single academic institution identified the website content most important to applicants. A list of ACGME-accredited SRW as of December 1, 2020 was obtained. Using the Fellowship and Residency Electronic and Interactive Database, websites were assessed for content parameters identified by the survey. RESULTS: Medical students applying to surgical specialties identified fellowship acquisition (94%), faculty information (88%), application contact information (82%), and resident wellness (77%) as the most important website content. Review of SRW websites identified content pertaining to fellowship acquisition and resident wellness in only 60% and 27% of cases respectively. Overall, the SRW of university programs included the most content parameters, followed by hybrid programs, then community programs. CONCLUSIONS: Many SRW are missing information that applicants deem important in their decision-making process. Most notably, there is a relative deficiency in information pertaining to fellowship match results and resident wellness. University based programs tend to include more of this information on their websites. SRW should continue to adapt to meet the needs of applicants in an increasingly virtual age.