Exploration of a Two-Phase Match. As part of its commitment to providing a Matching Program that is fair, equitable, efficient, transparent, and reliable, the NRMP began in 2021 to examine whether improvements could be made to the Match that would foster greater applicant wellness and agency, greater capacity for thoughtful decision-making, and a more wide-spread holistic approach to the application and interview processes. For 70 years, the NRMP has proudly served as the steward of a system that continuously evolves to meet the changing needs of applicants, programs, institutions, and medical schools through improved Match processes, offerings, and resources.
In summer 2022, a proposal outlining a two-phase Match was presented to the GME community that outlined why the time was ripe for the consideration and how participants could benefit from the change in Match structure. Although the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®) has objectively improved on the chaos and instability surrounding the post-Match “Scramble” since it was implemented in 2012, it lacks equity for applicants and encourages reactive rather than proactive training decisions that increase stress on all participants.
The transition to residency has had to shoulder increasing numbers of applicants, broad variation in recruitment methodologies by programs, and increasing stress among applicants and programs. A two-phase Match could, at minimum, address stress levels while fostering greater parity of experience for all by
+ Requiring submission of rank order lists by both applicants and programs at each phase
+ Utilizing the matching algorithm (applicant-proposing) for each phase
+ Providing time for applicants to research and vet program choices
+ Providing time for programs to engage in a more holistic review
+ Increasing time for contact between programs and applicants
+ Including two Match Days that would provide the release of the full results to all participants
The NRMP built the concept of a two-phase Match using the existing Main Residency Match timeline to ensure stakeholders were not burdened with radical changes in preparation, selection, and onboarding. The NRMP has solicited public comment from the GME community and will invite organizations and other interested parties to participate in a period of public testimony. Findings from the public comment and engagement period will be analyzed and shared with the community.