OBJECTIVES:Traditional personal interviews are subject to limitations imposed by geographic, financial, and scheduling constraints. Web-based videoconferencing (WVC) has the potential to simplify the interview process. This study was intended to evaluate the feasibility and utility of WVC using standard tablets/computers with videoconferencing capability in gastroenterology (GI) fellowship interviews.METHODS:At a single institution, 16 GI fellowship applicants participated in WVC with one interviewer, who was present at a remote location 750 miles away. In addition, each of the candidates underwent traditional interviews with four faculty members at the program site. All study interviewees used an iPad2 (Apple, iOS 5.1; Apple) with a videoconferencing application (Facetime). The interviewer (SRD) used Facetime on a MacBook Pro (Apple, Mac OS X 10.7.3). Each candidate completed a voluntary paper survey after completion of all assigned faculty interviews.RESULTS:The average age of the candidates was 30 years (range, 27-37 years). Fourteen candidates were native English speakers. Candidates expressed a high level of satisfaction, with 13 candidates (81%) stating that their WVC experience met or exceeded their expectations, and 87% of candidates stating that WVC should be an option in fellowship interviews. In addition, 25% of candidates felt that their WVC experience was equivalent to or better than their traditional interview experience on the same day.CONCLUSIONS:WVC can be an effective and useful tool in the fellowship interview process. It affords candidates increased flexibility, cost saving, convenience, and provides an option for participating in the selection process at more programs. For the programs and faculty, WVC has a potential to be an effective screening tool, can help minimize loss of clinical revenue and can also be an acceptable alternative to in-person interviews.
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