An equivalence study of interview platform: Does videoconference technology impact medical school acceptance rates of different groups?
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Web-based interviewing may be an effective element of a medical school's larger approach to promotion of holistic review, as recommended by the Association of American Medical Colleges, by facilitating the feasibility of including rural and community physicians in the interview process. Only 10% of medical schools offer videoconference interviews to applicants and little is known about the impact of this interview modality on the admissions process. This study investigated the impact of overall acceptance rates using videoconference interviews and face-to-face interviews in the medical school selection process using an equivalence trial design. The University of New Mexico School of Medicine integrated a videoconferencing interview option for community and rural physician interviewers in a pseudo-random fashion during the 2014-2016 admissions cycles. Logistic regression was conducted to examine whether videoconference interviews impacted acceptance rates or the characteristics of accepted students. Demographic, admissions and diversity factors were analyzed that included applicant age, MCAT score, cumulative GPA, gender, underrepresented in medicine, socioeconomic status and geographic residency. Data from 752 interviews were analyzed. Adjusted rates of acceptance for face-to-face (37.0%; 95% CI 28.2, 46.7%) and videoconference (36.1%; 95% CI 17.8, 59.5%) interviews were within an a priori ± 5% margin of equivalence. Both interview conditions yielded highly diverse groups of admitted students. Having a higher medical college admission test score, grade point average, and self-identifying as disadvantaged increased odds of admission in both interview modalities. Integration of the videoconference interview did not impact the overall acceptance of a highly diverse and qualified group of applicants, and allowed rural and community physicians to participate in the medical school interview process as well as allowed campus faculty and medical student committee members to interview remotely.