Bias is inevitable, he said, which is why Gallup officials interview candidates by telephone, not knowing height, skin color or physical disabilities. He also said that it’s crucial for every interview to include multiple appraisers. In the MMI, while there are multiple stations, there is generally just one interviewer per station.
Explore this issue:September 2012
Multiple interviewers are needed even when the criteria being evaluated are precisely known beforehand, Conchie said. “The fact that it’s an individual lays it open to bias,” he said. “The issue about bias is that the individual’s unaware of it. I mean, that’s what bias means, right? Bias isn’t something that afflicts other people. We all have them. I have them … I would never trust my own judgment in a face-to-face interview on my own with a candidate, however explicit the criteria.”
Better Results for Patients
Robert Miller, MD, executive director of the American Board of Otolaryngology and physician editor of ENT Today, said better screening of candidates should be a top priority of the AAMC, especially to weed out those with the potential for professional misconduct. And he expressed support for Gallup’s approach. “We need a better way of screening for these issues,” he said.
Fred Telischi, MD, chairman of the department of otolaryngology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that a better focus on the non-academic qualities of med school applicants could yield better results for patients in the long run.
“We know that people who have a better outlook, or a more positive outlook, will frequently do better,” he said. “There are certainly examples of physicians who see too many patients in a day and don’t spend enough time with them. So, consequently, patients don’t feel like they’ve been heard, and that affects their treatment. They won’t listen to the doctor, they’ll be less compliant with medication, they’ll be more likely to go see another doctor and use more health care resources.”