Medical Student Teleconferencing Experiences and Financial Status: A Cross-Sectional Survey




Financial stress, Internet, Medical education, Medical students, Videoconferencing


Background: Teleconferencing issues may affect the online experiences of medical students during medical education and residency interview evaluation. Yet, teleconferencing experiences among medical students with varying financial status have not been examined.

Methods: Cross-sectional study based on a single-institution survey of fourth-year University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) medical students on self-reported financial status, teleconferencing issues experienced, preparations made for online residency interviews, and satisfaction with teleconferencing equipment. Responses of students who self-identified as financially disadvantaged were compared to those of students without financial hardship using Fisher’s exact tests.

Results: Of 268 students invited to complete the survey, 67 responded (25%), and 27 (40%) of respondents identified as financially disadvantaged. A majority of students reported problems with internet connectivity (75%) and audio quality (51%). Nearly one-third of students (30%) reported plans to improve their internet connectivity for online residency interviews. Of respondents, 58% were satisfied with the quality of their teleconferencing equipment. Students dissatisfied with their equipment were more likely to report audio problems (68% vs. 38%, P=0.03) and internet connectivity issues (89% vs. 64%, P=0.01). Financial status was not significantly associated with teleconferencing issues, device age, satisfaction with teleconferencing equipment, or the amount that students would be willing to spend on acquiring new equipment.

Conclusion: Teleconferencing issues, particularly audio and internet problems, are highly prevalent among fourth-year medical students at UCLA and are associated with dissatisfaction with teleconferencing equipment but not self-reported financial status. The influence of teleconferencing issues on student evaluation outcomes warrants further investigation.


Metrics Loading ...


The Coalition for Physician Accountability. Final Report and Recommendations for Medical Education Institutions of LCME-Accredited, U.S. Osteopathic, and Non-U.S. Medical School Applicants. Available from: Last updated May 11, 2020; cited Dec 10, 2020.

Association of American Medical Colleges. Virtual Interviews: Tips for Medical School Applicants. Available from: Last updated May 14, 2020; cited Dec 1, 2020.

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. Virtual Interviewing. Available from:; publication date unavailable; cited Dec 6, 2020.

Williams K, Kling JM, Labonte HR, Blair JE. Videoconference Interviewing: Tips for Success. J Grad Med Educ. 2015 Sep;7(3):331.

Davis MG, Haas MRC, Gottlieb M, House JB, Huang RD, Hopson LR. Zooming In Versus Flying Out: Virtual Residency Interviews in the Era of COVID-19. AEM Educ Train. 2020 Jun 27;4(4):443–6.

Couch KA, Fairlie RW, Xu H. Early evidence of the impacts of COVID-19 on minority unemployment. J Public Econ. 2020 Dec;192:104287.

Bambra C, Riordan R, Ford J, Matthews F. The COVID-19 pandemic and health inequalities. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2020 Nov;74(11):964–8.

Ambrose AJH. Inequities During COVID-19. Pediatrics. 2020 Aug;146(2):e20201501.

McColl R, Michelotti M. Sorry, could you repeat the question? Exploring video-interview recruitment practice in HRM. Hum Resour Manag J. 2019 Aug 21;29(4):637–56.

DeGroot T, Gooty J. Can Nonverbal Cues be Used to Make Meaningful Personality Attributions in Employment Interviews? J Bus Psychol. 2009 Jun 1;24(2):179–92.

Naumann LP, Vazire S, Rentfrow P, Gosling S. Personality Judgments Based on Physical Appearance. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2009 Dec;35(12):1661-71.

Makdisi G, Takeuchi T, Rodriguez J, Rucinski J, Wise L. How We Select Our Residents—A Survey of Selection Criteria in General Surgery Residents. J Surg Educ. 2011 Jan 1;68(1):67–72.

Nallasamy S, Uhler T, Nallasamy N, Tapino PJ, Volpe NJ. Ophthalmology Resident Selection: Current Trends in Selection Criteria and Improving the Process. Ophthalmology. 2010 May 1;117(5):1041–7.

Martin M, Salzberg L. Resident characteristics to evaluate during recruitment and interview: a Delphi study. Educ Prim Care. 2017 Mar 4;28(2):81–5.

Katzung KG, Ankel F, Clark M, Lawson LE, DeBlieux PMC, Cheaito MA, et al. What Do Program Directors Look for in an Applicant? J Emerg Med. 2019 May 1;56(5):e95–101.

Stephenson-Famy A, Houmard BS, Oberoi S, Manyak A, Chiang S, Kim S. Use of the Interview in Resident Candidate Selection: A Review of the Literature. J Grad Med Educ. 2015 Dec;7(4):539.

Burkhardt JC. What Can We Learn From Resident Selection Interviews? J Grad Med Educ. 2015 Dec;7(4):673–5.

Fiechter JL, Fealing C, Gerrard R, Kornell N. Audiovisual quality impacts assessments of job candidates in video interviews: Evidence for an AV quality bias. Cogn Res Princ Implic. 2018 Dec 7;3(1):47.

Borkenau P, Liebler A. Observable Attributes as Manifestations and Cues of Personality and Intelligence. J Pers. 1995 Jan;63(1):1–25.

Zaki MM, Nahed BV. Using Virtual Interviews in Residency Selection Beyond COVID-19. Acad Med. 2020 Nov;95(11):e7-8.

Vining CC, Eng OS, Hogg ME, Schuitevoerder D, Silverman RS, Yao KA, et al. Virtual Surgical Fellowship Recruitment During COVID-19 and Its Implications for Resident/Fellow Recruitment in the Future. Ann Surg Oncol. 2020 May; 18;1–5.

Wolff M, Burrows H. Planning for Virtual Interviews: Residency Recruitment During a Pandemic. Acad Pediatr. 2021 Jan-Feb;21(1):24–31.

Ballejos MP, Oglesbee S, Hettema J, Sapien R. An equivalence study of interview platform: Does videoconference technology impact medical school acceptance rates of different groups? Adv in Health Sci Educ. 2018 Aug 1;23(3):601–10.

Nwora C, Allred DB, Verduzco-Gutierrez M. Mitigating Bias in Virtual Interviews for Applicants Who are Underrepresented in Medicine. J Natl Med Assoc. 2021 Feb;113(1):74-6.

Hagedorn JCI, Chen J, Weiss WM, Fredrickson SW, Faillace JJ. Interviewing in the Wake of COVID-19: How Orthopaedic Residencies, Fellowships, and Applicants Should Prepare for Virtual Interviews. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2021 Apr 1;29(7):271-7.

UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. DGSOM Student Computing Standards: Class of 2022. Available from:; publication date unavailable; cited Jan 25, 2021.

Hecht J. The bandwidth bottleneck that is throttling the Internet. Nature News. 2016;536(7615):139. Your Guide to Internet Service During New Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak. Available from:; last updated Mar 25, 2020; cited Jan 25, 2021.

Lai J, Widmar NO. Revisiting the Digital Divide in the COVID?19 Era. Appl Econ Perspect Policy. 2021 Mar;43(1):458-64.


2022-01-22 — Updated on 2022-04-13


How to Cite

Huang, I. A., Dhindsa, Y., Chen, A. J., Wu, J., Wagner, J. P., Tillou, A., & Chen, F. (2022). Medical Student Teleconferencing Experiences and Financial Status: A Cross-Sectional Survey. International Journal of Medical Students, 10(1), 56–62. (Original work published April 5, 2022)



Original Article