Website evaluation for shoulder and elbow fellowships in the United States: an evaluation of accessibility and content

JSES Int. 2020 May 8;4(3):449-452. doi: 10.1016/j.jseint.2020.04.011. eCollection 2020 Sep.


Hypothesis and/or background: When examining the access and content related to shoulder and elbow fellowship websites, only 64% of programs had individual websites in a query performed 5 years earlier. The purpose of this study was to re-evaluate content about individual programs listed on the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) website and on individual program websites and compare the results to prior data.

Methods: The ASES website was accessed to determine both the number of ASES-recognized shoulder and elbow fellowships and the number of direct links to fellowship program websites. A Google search was also performed to determine the ease of access to fellowship program websites. Each website was then evaluated for content in regard to their recruitment and educational program.

Results: The ASES website includes contact information and a brief description for 29 programs with 40 reported positions. When trying to identify links to program websites, there were functioning links to 6 programs (21%) and absent/nonfunctioning links for the remaining 23 (79%). Through a Google search, there were functioning links to 22 (76%) and absent/nonfunctioning links for 7 (24%) programs. All 29 program websites had faculty listing and program contact info whereas 28 (97%) had a description of their program. In terms of educational content, 17 (59%) included description of operative cases and 18 (62%) had descriptions of rotations/curriculum.

Discussion and/or conclusion: Individual shoulder and elbow fellowship program websites provide varied content and accessibility. In the intervening 5 years, there has been minimal improvement in the accessibility of individual fellowship websites from the ASES website.

Keywords: Fellowship; Internet; elbow; medical education; shoulder; website.