Cost of the Otolaryngology Residency Application Process: Comparison With Other Specialties and Equity Implications

William J. Benjamin, Nicholas R. Lenze, Janice L. Farlow, Angela P. Mihalic, Lauren A. Bohm, Robbi A. Kupfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This study aims to assess trends in applicant-reported costs of the otolaryngology residency application process between 2019 and 2021 and evaluate the impact of application costs on number of interview offers. Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: US allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. Methods: Survey data from applicants were obtained from the Texas STAR database (Seeking Transparency in Application to Residency) for the years 2019 to 2021. Outcomes included total cost, interview cost, other costs, application fees, and number of interview offers. Simple and multivariable linear regression was used to identify novel predictors of cost and assess the correlation between cost and interview offers. Results: Among 363 otolaryngology applicants, there was a 74% reduction in total costs and a 97% reduction in interview costs in the 2021 cycle vs the 2020 cycle. Significant predictors of total cost among otolaryngology applicants included the number of away rotations (P <.01), the number of research experiences (P =.04), and couples matching (P <.01). During the 2019 and 2020 application cycles, there was a significant association between applicant-reported total spending and number of otolaryngology interview offers (P <.01), which was not present during the 2021 cycle (P =.35). Conclusion: Number of otolaryngology interview offers appears to be directly correlated with applicant-reported total costs regardless of number of applications or interviews attended, which may be a source of inequality in the application process. There was a drastic reduction in total costs, interview costs, and other costs during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was likely driven by virtual interviewing and the absence of away rotations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOTO Open
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • cost
  • equity
  • graduate medical education
  • medical school debt
  • otolaryngology
  • residency application

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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