Scheduling App for Medical Students

This project would include creating an app for medical students in the residency match process to help coordinate interviews, network with other applicants, and optimize scheduling.

Project Lead:

Melissa Pritchard, Medical Student
School of Medicine, Boston University 

Detailed Project Description:

From an applicant perspective, the national residency match interview process can only be described as an absolute mess. Over 30,000 applicants apply every September, and are then invited to interviews that take place from mid-October through late January – and the process of scheduling and coordinating these interviews is fraught with problems, two of which could be solved through an app. The larger problem is social in nature, and centers on applicants’ desires to coordinate interviews with other applicants (either those from their own medical school or other applicants that they meet on “the trail”) while maintaining their own privacy. Applicants are very reluctant to compare lists of interviews with other applicants, both because of the awkwardness of doing so in such a pressure-cooker of competition and emotion and because the amount of time that it would take to compare lists would be excessive. Furthermore, applicants are very sensitive about the possibility that others (programs or applicants) might find out where they are interviewing. An app that would allow users to enter their list of interviews and compare it to the lists of their contacts, informing them only if their contacts have the same interview, would allow them then to carpool or otherwise coordinate without the time and social anxiety otherwise involved. The other problem involves scheduling. Many programs only offer interviews on a limited number of days, and send out more invitations than they can accommodate. Many programs also interview on the same days. Therefore, applicants are often racing each other to respond as quickly as possible, while attempting to secure dates that don’t conflict with other interviews. As programs make their dates known before they send invitations, applicants are able to leave open the dates of programs they are still hoping to hear from, however, this involves a handwritten calendar and some quick thinking under pressure. Though these principles could be expanded to apply to those applying for any type of graduate school, the medical residency match applicants are a particularly desperate group. They devote months of their fourth year and spend thousands of dollars in order to survive this process. An app that could facilitate their ability to coordinate and optimize their schedules would be hugely helpful, and has the potential to become critical to this process.

Technical Components:

I need assistance completing this section: Software engineering, Mobile application development, and Computer network security. 

The app would involve two pieces of functionality. The primary piece involves networking. It would need to allow users to create an account with basic information (name, medical school, specialty) and to make connections to other applicants. Then the applicants would enter their list of interviews into the app (location and date) and the list would be invisible to all other users. If one of their interviews matches with one of their connections, then they are notified of the overlap, allowing them to coordinate. The other piece involves scheduling. The dates that different programs offer interviews would need to be known by the app. Then applicants would be able to select which programs they applied to, and the app, using a calendar function would be able to tell them which invitations to accept on which dates, minimizing the potential for future conflicts.

Skill/Expertise Requirement(s):

1) App Development