Several residency program characteristics have been suggested as measures of program quality, but associations between these measures are unknown. We set out to determine associations between these potential measures of program quality.
Survey of internal medicine residency programs that shared an online ambulatory curriculum on hospital type, faculty size, number of trainees, proportion of international medical graduate (IMG) trainees, Internal Medicine In-Training Examination (IM-ITE) scores, three-year American Board of Internal Medicine Certifying Examination (ABIM-CE) first-try pass rates, Residency Review Committee-Internal Medicine (RRC-IM) certification length, program director clinical duties, and use of pharmaceutical funding to support education. Associations assessed using Chi-square, Spearman rank correlation, univariate and multivariable linear regression.
Fifty one of 67 programs responded (response rate 76.1%), including 29 (56.9%) community teaching and 17 (33.3%) university hospitals, with a mean of 68 trainees and 101 faculty. Forty four percent of trainees were IMGs. The average post-graduate year (PGY)-2 IM-ITE raw score was 63.1, which was 66.8 for PGY3s. Average 3-year ABIM-CE pass rate was 95.8%; average RRC-IM certification was 4.3 years. ABIM-CE results, IM-ITE results, and length of RRC-IM certification were strongly associated with each other (p < 0.05). PGY3 IM-ITE scores were higher in programs with more IMGs and in programs that accepted pharmaceutical support (p < 0.05). RRC-IM certification was shorter in programs with higher numbers of IMGs. In multivariable analysis, a higher proportion of IMGs was associated with 1.17 years shorter RRC accreditation.
Associations between quality indicators are complex, but suggest that the presence of IMGs is associated with better performance on standardized tests but decreased duration of RRC-IM certification.