Background: Prospective orthopedic residency applicants commonly use one of three databases to identify potential programs: Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), American Medical Association (FREIDA), or Orthogate. org. In addition, institutional websites are typically the primary source of information once programs are identified. We sought to evaluate the databases and websites used by prospective orthopedic surgery applicants for content and accessibility. We hypothesized that information would be more available in comparison to previous studies but would still fail to provide complete, up to date program information for the prospective applicant.
Methods: Three online databases were queried in December 2014 to compile a list of orthopedic residency programs in the United States. This combined list was used as a basis for evaluating individual institution websites. Previously described criteria were used to evaluate the availability of information contained within orthopedic surgery residency websites.
Results: At the time of online review, 157 programs were identified. Depending on the database in question, up to 33% of programs either did not provide a link or listed a non-functioning link. Among the variety of evaluated criteria, inclusion of the information varied between 12% and 97% for the individual program websites.
Conclusions: Online databases are useful in listing programs, but individual program details and direct functional links are lacking. Most program websites contain varying degrees of desired information; however, not all programs maintain websites which consistently provide information to satisfy the evaluated criteria in this study. Improved online accessibility and availability of information for residency programs would increase their visibility and utility for prospective applicants.