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