February 2019 #PRSJournalClub Wrap-Up: Solving Congestion in the Plastic Surgery Match

by Kevin M. Kinuthia, MD
Plastic Surgery Resident
University of Nairobi


The February edition of #PRSJournalClub provided an excellent discussion of an important PRS article entitled “Solving Congestion in the Plastic Surgery Match: A Game Theory Analysis” by Burbano, Yao, Burish, Ingargiola, Freeman, Stock and Taub. The #PRSJournalClub discussion was held on the #PRSJournal Facebook page, a community that has grown to a readership of 25,819 since the #PRSJournalClub was first hosted on it in January 2018. This growing audience was able to ask questions and interact directly with the authors of this article. The article can be found here.

In the study, Burbano et al sought to characterize trends in the Plastic Surgery match rate, as the number of integrated plastic and reconstructive surgery programs continues to increase countrywide. Furthermore, they reviewed the literature on game theory for possible solutions to the problem of residency application congestion. Some of the proposed solutions included increasing the cost of applications, conducting regional interviews and establishing monitored signalling mechanisms. The authors propose the use of the game theory model, specifically the prisoner’s dilemma, to explain the observed results and show why an application limit is the most reasonable approach to address this issue citing the use of this solution in other similar markets where this resulted in decreased cost and reduction of congestion without negatively impacting the number of matches.

The article was first discussed by the current Resident Ambassadors to the PRS Editorial Board, Raj Parikh, MD, Lily Mundy, MD, and Kyle Sanniec, MD, and the special guest moderator Ash Patel, MD, current Associate Professor and Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at Albany Medical Center, N.Y. Listen to the podcast discussion below:

An engaging and thought-provoking online discussion also took place on the #PRSJournal Facebook page on February 24th, where plastic surgeons and residents alike were able to ask questions, and get answers from the authors of the article themselves! Don’t worry if you missed it! A summary of the interesting discussion is provided here.

We sincerely hope you enjoy the top highlights from the discussion and look forward to seeing you at the next #PRSJournalClub on Facebook!

Sincerely,

Kevin


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