By Brad Broker
Last Friday was Match Day and it was a great year for those medical students being placed into their residency programs of choice.
The National Residency Match Program (NRMP) reported an all-time high of 29,671 first and second year positions available which is over 500 more than last year. Of the 16,399 allopathic medical students who matched, 54 percent of graduating seniors matched to their first choice of residency.
“In the past five years alone, we’ve seen an increase of more than 4,000 positions and more than half of those are in Internal Medicine and Family Medicine,” said NRMP Executive Director Mona Singer.
Match Day aligns graduating medical students with residency training programs in specialties the students want to pursue. The NRMP conducts its matches using a mathematical algorithm that pairs the rank ordered preferences of applicants and program directors to produce a “best fit” for filling available training positions.
The trends are good news for family medicine, which is always on the radar for a shortage of practicing docs. But this year, 1,416 graduates matched to family medicine residencies, up 333 since 2009 and an increase of 42 over last year.
“If we add 65 family medicine residency positions annually through 2025, we will be producing 4,475 family physicians each year,” said said Reid Blackwelder, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “At that rate, we will be able to meet demand for family physicians.”
Internal medicine residencies increased slightly for the fifth consecutive year with 3,167 matches. But even with strong numbers, there is still concern among health experts regarding the future of the profession.
“While the number of U.S. medical students choosing internal medicine residencies continues in an upward trend, the exorbitant cost of medical education with the resulting financial burden on medical students and residents along with problematic payment models and administrative hassles are barriers to a career in general internal medicine and primary care,” said Patrick Alguire, MD, FACP, senior vice president for medical education, American College of Physicians.
This year’s Match included 40,394 registrants, 59 more than last year. The overall match rate to first-year positions was 75 percent, the highest since 2006. The match rate for U.S. seniors was 94.4 percent. The highest matched specialty was Pediatrics, which filled 99.5 percent of its residencies.
(Photo by Greater Louisville Medical Society via Flickr)