Analysis of Applicants’ Perspectives of Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship Program Websites

Academic Article


  • Background: Cardiothoracic (CT) surgery fellowship websites help applicants determine where they apply and/or accept an interview. However, relevant information from programs is not communicated in a standardized way. Methods: We used Fellow and Residency Electronic Interactive Database Access (FREIDA) Online to identify residency programs with traditional CT fellowships. Program-specific variables included presence or absence of tracks, track duration, and annual cardiac and thoracic cases. Resident-specific variables included number of resident(s) a program accepts and case numbers per fellow. Current CT residents completed an online survey in which they rated how important they deemed the presence of these variables in program websites. Results: According to FREIDA Online, 74 traditional CT surgery fellowship websites were analyzed. Among the websites listed on FREIDA, only 16 (22%) linked directly to the CT fellowship page. Surveys were sent to all trainees enrolled in the 74 programs, and 24 responded. There were marked deficiencies in the availability of information on program websites that was highly valued by trainees. Only 31% of websites reported annual program volume, and 14% reported resident case numbers, while this data was highly valued by >60% of respondents. Similarly, 11% of program websites described their education curriculum, while 81% of respondents highly valued this information. One-quarter of respondents were dissatisfied with the overall information provided by program websites. Conclusions: CT fellowship program websites lack crucial content that is deemed highly valued by applicants. This study suggests the possible need for a single comprehensive data repository or a standardized method for communicating information through program websites.
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  • Raza SS; Asban A; Donahue J; Wei B