Background: The digital footprint of vascular residency and fellowship programs may have an impact on an applicant's likelihood of selecting a given program. This may include content and accessibility of a particular program's website as well as its social media presence. The goal of this study is to evaluate the online presence of all accredited vascular surgery training programs in the United States and Canada. Methods: A list of accredited vascular surgery training programs in the United States was obtained from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the Society for Vascular Surgery websites. Canadian program websites were sourced from the Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery website. Each program website was individually queried. A systematic Google search of each program was carried out to determine website accessibility. Thirty-one individual content and quality metrics were used to appraise the websites. Three major social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) were individually searched for program profiles. Results: A total of 105 independent vascular surgery fellowship programs in the 5 + 2 paradigm and 55 integrated vascular surgery residency programs in the 0 + 5 paradigm were identified in the United States. An additional 10 Canadian programs were also identified, including 10 integrated residency programs and 4 independent fellowships. Ninety-nine percent of integrated residency and fellowship programs were accessible through Google search. Program description was also almost universally available. Significant differences between US and Canadian programs were observed including the mention of salary information (43% vs. 10%, P = 0.039), clinic responsibilities (38% vs. 90%, P = 0.001), teaching responsibilities (34% vs. 100%, P < 0.0001), program director contact information (47% vs. 80%, P = 0.045), mention of journal club (52% vs. 100%, P = 0.003), research requirements (50% vs. 90%, P = 0.014), and past and current research (30% vs. 70%, P = 0.009 and 37% vs. 80%, P = 0.008, respectively). Additionally, there were significant differences in mention of institutions from which trainees came from (48% vs. 10%, P = 0.021), mention of hybrid operating room (42% vs. 100%, P = 0.0003), advertised medical student rotations (25% vs. 90%, P < 0.0001), and finally social media presence (13% vs. 70%, P < 0.0001). Conclusions: The overall digital footprint of the majority of training programs in the United States was small, unlike their Canadian counterparts. Although the vast majority of websites for vascular surgery training programs were accessible via simple internet searches, they lacked information that could have been important to applicants. Additionally, the significant underuse of social media platforms by American vascular surgery programs indicated a potential missed opportunity to target the millennials who make up most of the applicant pool to these programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine