Orthopedic residency programs violate Match Code of Conduct: 6 things to know

Practice Management

A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found the ways some orthopedic residency programs communicate with applicants violates the National Resident Matching Program's Match Code of Conduct.

The study authors from the department of orthopedic surgery at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore conducted a post-match survey of 1,198 applicants in one orthopedic residency program and used 293 responses for the analysis. The study was conducted over two years and asked the applicants whether they had any post-interview communication.


The researchers found:


1. There were 64 percent of the applicants that reported post-interview communication with at least one program.


2. The post-interview interactions triggered 17 percent of the applicants to rank contacting programs higher, or at the very least keep those programs on top of their lists.


3. Around 20 percent of the applicants said the post-interview contact made them feel pressure to "reveal their rank position"; 8 percent said the residency program asked the applicant to rank them first in exchange for ranking the applicant first.


4. Post-interview communication resulted in 13.5 times higher odds of matching the applicant to the program that contacted them.


5. Almost all — 90 percent — reported program communication didn't change how the applicants ranked the programs where they were matched.


6. Around 17 percent of the applicants reported they were pointed toward second-look visits with an average cost of $600; the cost range was $20 to $8,000.


"To improve the integrity of the match, we suggest that programs use no-reply e-mails to minimize influence and pressure on applicants, interviewers and applicants review the Code of Conduct on interview day and provide instructions on reporting violations to the National Resident Matching Program, all post-interview communication be directed to a standardized or neutral third party, and programs actively discourage second-look visits and stop requiring second-look visits," concluded the study authors.


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