Initiation of the Virtual Interview: A 5-Y Evaluation of General Surgery Residency Match Results

Published:October 31, 2022DOI:



      The virtual residency application season posed numerous challenges for the 2021 residency match process. Many residency programs are exploring relationships between this novel format and the match process. The purpose of this study was to compare one of the largest general surgery residency program's applications and match data from preCOVID years to the 2021 virtual cycle.

      Materials and methods

      A retrospective review was performed of applicants to a single general surgery residency program from 2017 to 2021. The primary outcome was the number of locally matched applicants. The secondary outcomes were the total number of applications, change in applicant demographics, and variability of the geographic spread during this study period. Chi-square tests of independence, Fisher's exact tests, and negative binomial regression were performed.


      6819 applicants were included in the study. In 2021, an increase in applications was observed. The distribution of 2021 applications was statistically different from previous years regarding gender and race (P < 0.0001). The 2021 application cycle had a greater proportion of applicants from the United States (P < 0.0001) and southern US medical schools (P = 0.008). While the 2021 cycle had significantly more interviews (P = 0.013), there were no significant differences in the demographic composition of interviewees. During the 2021 application year, all 11 matches were from southern medical schools and there was a trend to more matched female applicants compared to previous years.


      During the 2021 COVID-19 virtual match cycle, an increase in both the number of applications and number of interviews for general surgery residency was identified. The characteristics of applicants who interviewed and matched were not different when compared to previous years. As virtual interviews may become more commonplace, it is important to assess all factors that may be involved in the dynamic residency application process.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Surgical Research
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Newsome K.
        • Selvakumar S.
        • McKenny M.
        • Elkbuli A.
        Shifting the surgical residency match to a 100% virtual interview format during the COVID-19 pandemic, how has it affected placement into surgical training programs?.
        Am Surg. 2021;
        • Faletsky A.
        • Zitkovsky H.
        • Guo L.
        Disparate responses in match outcome across competitive surgical subspecialties to pandemic era constraints: an analysis of impacts of minimal auditions.
        J Surg Educ. 2022; 79: 243-248
        • Gabrielson A.T.
        • Meilchen C.K.
        • Kohn J.R.
        • Kohn T.P.
        The COVID-19 residency application cycle did not affect geographic dispersal patterns among applicants entering the urology match: a quantitative mapping study.
        Urology. 2021; 158: 26-32
        • Faletsky A.
        • Zitkovsky H.
        • Guo L.
        The impact of COVID-19 on plastic surgery home program match rates.
        Ann Plast Surg. 2022; 88: 4-6
        • Asadourian P.A.
        • Murphy A.I.
        • Marano A.A.
        • Rohde C.H.
        • Wu J.K.
        Home field advantage: assessing the geographic trends of the plastic surgery residency match during the COVID-19 pandemic.
        J Surg Educ. 2021; 78: 1923-1929
        • Bernstein J.D.
        • Harmon M.
        • Watson D.
        COVID-19 and the otolaryngology residency match: rising incidence of home matches.
        Laryngoscope. 2022; 132: 1934-1938
        • Hollins A.W.
        • Zhang G.X.
        • Stoehr J.R.
        • et al.
        Staying close to home: the effects of COVID-19 on the plastic surgery residency match.
        Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2021; 9: e3864
        • Santos-Parker K.S.
        • Hammoud M.M.
        • Winkel A.F.
        • et al.
        Distributions of residency interviews with the implementation of virtual interviews and standardization of interview offer dates.
        J Surg Educ. 2022; 79: 1105-1112
        • Haffner M.R.
        • Van B.W.
        • Wick J.B.
        • Le H.V.
        What is the trend in representation of women and under-represented minorities in orthopaedic surgery residency?.
        Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2021; 479: 2610-2617
        • Anderson K.T.
        • Hyman S.
        • Henry M.C.W.
        Demographics in general surgery programs: relationship between female faculty and proportion of female residents.
        Am J Surg. 2020; 220: 1189-1193
        • Blakemore L.C.
        • Hall J.M.
        • Biermann J.S.
        Women in surgical residency training programs.
        J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2003; 85: 2477-2480
        • Linscheid L.J.
        • Holliday E.B.
        • Ahmed A.
        • et al.
        Women in academic surgery over the last four decades.
        PLoS One. 2020; 15: e0243308
        • Gordon A.M.
        • Malik A.T.
        • Scharschmidt T.J.
        • Goyal K.S.
        Cost analysis of medical students applying to orthopaedic surgery residency: implications for the 2020 to 2021 application cycle during COVID-19.
        JBJS Open Access. 2021; 6: e20.00158
        • Wright A.S.
        Virtual interviews for fellowship and residency applications are effective replacements for in-person interviews and should continue post-COVID.
        J Am Coll Surg. 2020; 231: 678
        • Vining C.C.
        • Eng O.S.
        • Hogg M.E.
        • et al.
        Letter-health services research and global oncology virtual surgical fellowship recruitment during COVID-19 and its implications for resident/fellow recruitment in the future.
        Ann Surg Oncol. 2020; 27: 911-915
        • Kubi B.
        • Keiler J.
        • Douglas A.
        A game of adaptability: reflecting on the highlights & challenges of applying for surgical residency during the COVID-19 pandemic.
        Ann Surg. 2021; 274: e381-e382
        • Butler P.D.
        • Nagler A.
        • Atala A.
        • et al.
        Virtual surgery residency selection: strategies for programs and candidates.
        Am J Surg. 2021; 221: 59