Website usability analysis of United States emergency medicine residencies Academic Article uri icon

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  • Objectives: The Council of Residency Directors (CORD) in Emergency Medicine (EM) has recommended that all residency programs should conduct virtual interviews for the 2020 to 2021 application cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While factors such as geographical region, city, program size, or hospital affiliation are not modifiable, EM residencies can bridge the information gap created by a lack of face-to-face interaction by representing themselves digitally. Measuring usability provides an objective method for EM residencies to improve their Web presence and effectively represent themselves to applicants. Methods: Our sample set included 55 U.S. EM residency program websites. Using methodology replicated from previous literature on health care website usability, we divided usability into four categories for quantifiable analysis: accessibility, marketing, content quality, and technology. Analysis was performed on each website and scored in all four categories. A "general usability" score was calculated for each website using a composite of the key factors within the four categories. Using a weighted percentage across all of the factors, an overall score was calculated. Results: Content quality was the overall highest scoring category (mean ± SD = 5.4, SE = 0.33). The overall lowest performing category was technology (mean ± SD = 0.8 ± 0.09, SE = 0.01). Conclusions: Measuring usability can help EM residency programs identify ways to improve their Web presence. To effectively promote their programs, residencies need quality content that communicates their key features. Our recommendation is for all residency programs to periodically perform website audits and apply the usability measures outlined to improve their digital presence, especially during times when face-to-face interactions will be limited.


  • Fundingsland, Edwin
  • Fike, Joseph
  • Calvano, Joshua
  • Raja, Ali
  • Lai, Deborah
  • Silacci, Sara
  • Haas, Mary
  • Chan, Teresa
  • He, Shuhan

publication date

  • July 2021