Despite the use of web-based information resources by both anesthesia departments and applicants, little research has been done to assess these resources and determine whether they are meeting applicant needs. Evidence is needed to guide anesthesia informatics research in developing high-quality anesthesia residency program Web sites (ARPWs).We used an anonymous web-based program (SurveyMonkey, Portland, OR) to distribute a survey investigating the information needs and perceived usefulness of ARPWs to all 572 Stanford anesthesia residency program applicants. A quantitative scoring system was then created to assess the quality of ARPWs in meeting the information needs of these applicants. Two researchers independently analyzed all 131 ARPWs in the United States to determine whether the ARPWs met the needs of applicants based on the scoring system. Finally, a qualitative assessment of the overall user experience of ARPWs was developed to account for the subjective elements of the Web site's presentation.Ninety-eight percent of respondents reported having used ARPWs during the application process. Fifty-six percent reported first visiting the Stanford ARPW when deciding whether to apply to Stanford's anesthesia residency program. Multimedia and Web 2.0 technologies were "very" or "most" useful in "learning intangible aspects of a program, like how happy people are" (42% multimedia and Web 2.0 versus 14% text and photos). ARPWs, on average, contained only 46% of the content items identified as important by applicants. The average (SD) quality scores among all ARPWs was 2.06 (0.59) of 4.0 maximum points. The mean overall qualitative score for all 131 ARPWs was 4.97 (1.92) of 10 points. Only 2% of applicants indicated that the majority (75%-100%) of Web sites they visited provided a complete experience.Anesthesia residency applicants rely heavily on ARPWs to research programs, prepare for interviews, and formulate a rank list. Anesthesia departments can improve their ARPWs by including information such as total hours worked and work hours by rotation (missing in 96% and 97% of ARPWs) and providing a valid web address on the Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database Access System (FREIDA) (missing in 28% of ARPWs).
View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182027a94
View details for PubMedID 21081766