AEM Education and Training 07: Virtual Reality as an Interview Technique for EM Applicants

Welcome to the seventh episode of AEM Education and Training, a podcast collaboration between the Academic Emergency Medicine E&T Journal and Brown Emergency Medicine. Each quarter, we'll give you digital open access to AEM E&T Articles or Articles in Press, with an author interview podcast and links to curated supportive educational materials for EM learners and medical educators.

Find this podcast series on iTunes here.

AEM E and T Podcasts logo[1].png

DISCUSSING (click on title to access):

Virtual Reality as an Interview Technique in Evaluation of Emergency Medicine Applicants. Scott B. Crawford, MD, Stormy M. Monks, PhD, MPH, and Radosveta N. Wells, MD


scott head.png

Scott Crawford, MD

Department of Emergency Medicine

Department of Emergency Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso


Need for Innovation
Current interviewing strategies and the standardized letter of evaluation may not provide enough insight into preferred resident characteristics. Emergency medicine (EM) residency programs are challenged with identifying trainees who can problem solve, communicate, and work well with fellow health professionals.

Structured interviews have previously been used and can help predict success but candidates have reported a negative impression with their use.

Objective of Innovation
This structured virtual reality (VR) interviewing method was designed so that interviewers can observe the communication abilities, subtle personality traits, and teamwork skills of applicants interviewed at an EM residency program.

Development Process
A consumer VR headset became available and in combination with an interactive team game was incorporated into a standardized team‐based interview session. This session was designed to allow observation of candidates’ communication, problem solving, and teamwork skills.

Implementation Phase
Surveys were collected to examine the satisfaction of EM residency applicants who participated in this novel standardized interviewing method using a VR headset. After the submission of rank lists, but prior to Match Day, those who interviewed were e‐mailed a voluntary, anonymous, and confidential survey asking about their interview experience, specifically about the VR portion. The survey was sent to 102 applicants with 63 responses for a 62% response rate at the completion of the 2015 to 2016 interview season.

Overall study findings suggested that participants had a highly favorable impression of the VR portion of the interview. Specifically, participants reported that this interview technique was appropriate and worthwhile. Additionally, participants attested that the Oculus portion of the interview gave insight to their work ethic, personality, and communication skills and how they work with others.

Reflective Discussion
The novel interviewing method used in this study allowed interviewers to gain insight beyond that of the paperwork and brief face‐to‐face interaction. Study findings suggest that interviewees accepted the use of this novel interview method. It has been incorporated into our interview process for three consecutive years.


#SAEM16: Tech Tools for Med Ed

At SAEM 2016 in New Orleans, Brown EM presented a session on this year's top ten apps and electronic resources for medical educators. Here's a quick tour of which tools we think are among the most useful, divided by task type.

Click through below to check them out yourself, and then let us know what you think, or about any of your favorites we may have left out, in the comment section below.

Asana                Free & premium versions        Web-based, iOS, Android
Project and teamwork management platform

Slack                Free & premium versions        Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
Team communication tool

Trello                Free & premium versions        Web-based, iOS, Android
Project and teamwork management platform

Basecamp                $29/month per organization        Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
Project and teamwork management platform

Active Inbox        from $3.30/month            For use with Gmail only
Inbox manager                (2 week free trial available)

Unroll.Me                Free                    iOS only
Email subscription manager        

SaneBox                From $7/month                Serves multiple email clients
Inbox manager

Mendeley            Free & premium versions        Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
Reference manager

Dropbox            Free & premium versions        Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
File-sharing platform

Evernote                Free & premium versions        Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
Personal management system

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.05.57 AM.png

Academic Life in EM            Free                    iOS, Android (via AgileMD app)
Paucis Verbis reference cards                        Compatible with Evernote, Dropbox

MDCalc                   Free                    Web-based, iOS
Clinical calculations, equations, decision tools

Figure1                   Free                    iOS, Android
Clinical image sharing

ReelDx                   See pricing on website            Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
Video management platform for clinical education and other applications

iThoughts        $11.99                    Mac and iOS only
Mind mapping app

Lucidchart            Free & premium versions        Web-based, iOS, other integrations
Flow chart creator and mind mapping


Poll Everywhere        Free & premium versions        Web-based, Windows, Mac
Audience response system

Doceri                Free (iPad), $30 (desktop)        iPad, Windows, desktop versions
Interactive whiteboard

Prezi                Free & premium versions        Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
Presentation tool

Feedly                Free                    iOS, Android
RSS and blog reader    

Read by QxMD            Free                    iOS, Android
Medical journal browsing

Join Twitter to surf the #FOAMed world and follow the explosion of EM Blogs. Start with us here at, and follow us on Twitter at @BrownEMRes

Need a Twitter starter for beginners? Click here for our Twitter Starter Handout.

Do you have a favorite tool we haven't mentioned? Tell us about your favorites in the Comment section.

Image credits to Sarah Michael, DO, MS