Background: The US residency application, interview, and match processes are costly and time-intensive. We sought to quantify the importance of an applicant being from the same-state as a residency program in terms of how this impacted the number of interviews needed to match.
Methods: We examined data from interview scheduling software used by 32 programs located in 31 US states and 1300 applicants for the US anesthesiology recruitment cycles from 2015 to 2018. Interviewee data (distance from program, region, numbers of interviews, and program at which interview occurred) were analyzed to quantify the effect of the interviewee being from the same state as the residency program on the odds of matching to that program. Other variables of interest (medical school, current address, US Medical Licensing Exam [USMLE] Step 1 and 2 clinical knowledge [CK] scores, Alpha Omega Alpha [AOA] status, medical school ranking) were also examined as controls. Confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for the ratios of odds ratios.
Results: An interviewee living in the same state as the interviewing program could have 5.42 fewer total interviews (97.5% CI, 3.02-7.81) while having the same odds of matching. The same state effect had an equivalent value as an approximately 4.14 USMLE points-difference from the program's mean (97.5% CI was 2.34-5.94 USMLE points). Addition of whether the interviewee belonged to an affiliated medical school did not significantly improve the model; same-state remained significant (P < .0001) while affiliated medical school was not (P = .40).
Conclusions: Our analysis of anesthesiology residency recruitment using previously unstudied interview data shows that same-state locality is a viable predictor of residency matching and should be strongly considered when evaluating whether to interview an applicant.