This year, U.S. medical seniors have achieved the highest match rate in 30 years, with over 95 percent having matched to residency positions, AAMC STAT reports. Of the “22,934 applicants successfully matched to first-year positions,” 15,712 of them were U.S. seniors. Although family medicine positions have grown substantially recently, they only had an increase of 1.1 percent this year. The specialties that saw the biggest increase in positions were anesthesiology, emergency medicine, and internal medicine. The number of positions offered in 2012 rose by 614 from last year to a total of 26,772. While this rise is somewhat hopeful, “concerns remain that the increases are insufficient to meet the nation’s health care needs and to alleviate future physician shortages,” according to AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D.
Despite the high match rate this year, there were still those seniors left without positions. This year, they are able to participate in the new Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP). SOAP is a more streamlined version of “Scramble,” the previous process used by unmatched applicants: “Using technology created and executed by the AAMC IT staff, SOAP allows unmatched students to learn the locations of unfilled positions and submit applications for these positions through the AAMC’s Electronic Residency Application Service.” After three rounds, over 90 percent of the positions found through SOAP were filled this year. Med students can breathe a sigh of relief—looks like the matching process has just gotten a little bit easier.