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American Association for Hand Surgery

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The Accessibility and Quality of Online Information for all 92 Hand Surgery Fellowship Programs in the USA: An Update
Samuel A Cohen, BS1, Michelle Xiao, BS1, Catherine Curtin, MD2 and Jeffrey Yao, MD1, (1)Stanford University, Redwood City, CA, (2)Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Palo Alto, CA

Introduction: The internet is an important tool for applicants seeking information on hand surgery fellowship programs. An effective fellowship website is especially critical given the shift to virtual interviews due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous analysis of hand surgery fellowship websites demonstrated they were often inaccessible and incomplete. As such, the purpose of this study was to perform an updated assessment of the accessibility and content of hand surgery fellowship program websites.
Materials and Methods: We obtained a list of all accredited hand surgery fellowship websites from the online database of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH). Fellowship program information from the ASSH database was recorded. 92 hand surgery fellowship websites were subsequently evaluated for (1) accessibility and (2) the presence of 4 program overview, 12 fellow recruitment, and 11 fellow education criteria with a potential maximum score of 27 criteria. These criteria were determined by prior hand surgery fellowship website analyses and updated Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education guidelines.
Results: Website links are listed for 90/92 (97.8%) hand surgery fellowship programs on the ASSH database. Of the links provided, 76/90 (84.4%) were functional. Of the functional links, only 47/76 (61.8%) provided a direct link to the proper fellowship program website. Fellowship program websites contained an average of 14.9 ± 4.5 total program overview, recruitment, and education criteria (range 4-25) (Figure 1). Program description (100%), social media links (79.3%), and affiliated hospital information (90.2%) were the most commonly identified program overview, recruitment, and education criteria, respectively (Table 1).
Conclusions: There is a lack of consistency in the program overview, recruitment, and education content on current hand surgery fellowship program websites. The majority of program websites contained approximately half of the criteria searched for in this study, with many websites failing to provide information deemed important by fellowship applicants. Applicants are increasingly turning to the internet to learn more about fellowship programs, and a website that incorporates the criteria examined in this study may serve as an effective recruitment tool. Our study provides a basis for improving the accessibility and content of hand surgery fellowship websites.


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