Predicting Quality of Clinical Performance From Cardiology Fellowship Applications

Tex Heart Inst J. 2020 Aug 1;47(4):258-264. doi: 10.14503/THIJ-18-6851.


Variables in cardiology fellowship applications have not been objectively analyzed against applicants' subsequent clinical performance. We investigated possible correlations in a retrospective cohort study of 65 cardiology fellows at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn) who began 2 years of clinical training from July 2007 through July 2013. Application variables included the strength of comparative statements in recommendation letters and the authors' academic ranks, membership status in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, awards earned, volunteer activities, United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) scores, advanced degrees, publications, and completion of a residency program ranked in the top 6 in the United States. The outcome was clinical performance as measured by a mean of faculty evaluation scores during clinical training. The overall mean evaluation score was 4.07 ± 0.18 (scale, 1-5). After multivariable analysis, evaluation scores were associated with Alpha Omega Alpha designation (β=0.13; 95% CI, 0.01-0.25; P=0.03), residency program reputation (β=0.13; 95% CI, 0.05-0.21; P=0.004), and strength of comparative statements in recommendation letters (β=0.08; 95% CI, 0.01-0.15; P=0.02), particularly in letters from residency program directors (β=0.05; 95% CI, 0.01-0.08; P=0.009). Objective factors to consider in the cardiology fellowship application include Alpha Omega Alpha membership, residency program reputation, and comparative statements from residency program directors.

Keywords: Cardiology/education; educational measurement/methods/standards; fellowships and scholarships/standards; personnel selection methods; predictive value of tests; professional practice/standards; retrospective studies; school admission criteria/statistics & numerical data; schools, medical.