Out-of-Match Residency Offers: The Possible Extent and Implications of Prematching in Graduate Medical Education.

Journal of Graduate Medical Education

PubMedID: 21976077

Wetz RV, Seelig CB, Khoueiry G, Weiserbs KF. Out-of-Match Residency Offers: The Possible Extent and Implications of Prematching in Graduate Medical Education. J Grad Med Educ. 2010;2(3):327-33.
BACKGROUND
When the data from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) are used to analyze trends in medical students' career preferences, positions offered outside the match are omitted. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the extent and nature of out-of-match residency offers.

METHODS
We obtained total resident complements and postgraduate year-1 positions offered in 7 specialties in 2007 and compared these with the 2007 NRMP match data. We compared the percentage of positions offered outside the match to "success" in matching United States medical doctors (USMDs) and to the availability of fellowship positions, using the Spearman rank order test (SROT).

RESULTS
A total of 18?030 postgraduate year-1 positions were offered in 9 specialty areas. Of 15?205 positions offered in the match, 54% were taken by USMDs. The percentage of outside-the-match offers was found to vary by specialty, from 7% in obstetrics-gynecology to 23% in internal medicine, and was inversely correlated with the specialty's "success" in matching USMDs (SROT ?=? -0.87). The 3 nonprocedural primary care specialties (internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics) accounted for 10?091 (46.2%) of the 21?845 total positions offered in the match, with 4401 (43.6%) offered almost entirely to non-USMDs. Another 2467 positions were offered outside the match, resulting in 6868 positions offered to non-USMDs (55% of all primary care positions). In internal medicine, the percentage of outside-the-match offers was significantly and inversely associated with the availability of intrainstitutional fellowship programs (P < .0001). Prematching of independent applicants was significantly higher in primary care than in procedural-lifestyle programs (P < .0001).

CONCLUSION
The NRMP's match data do not account for positions filled outside the match, a finding that appears to be significant. In 2007, 1 in 5 positions in primary care was offered outside the match.