Over the next seven years, an estimated 6.5 million new healthcare jobs will be have to be filled, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A large number of those positions will be for physicians and based on the current state of physician hires it doesn’t bode well for the industry. That’s where Karen Height comes in.
Height has been the Sourcing Director for Banner Health for nine years now, but strangely her background isn’t in recruiting. She has a degree in Journalism and has worked in media management and advertising for years. She even managed a local television station in Colorado. So why is she a physician recruiter thought leader? Her record of success says it all.
A Greeley, Colorado native, Height – in comparing Banner with independent, private medical practice – observed how “ahead of the game Banner Health was in patient care, culture, mission, and values. Banner uses an employed physician model and it literally blew up the recruiting model that was being used in the rest of the western U.S. – especially for hospitalists and acute care. That’s why we have been so successful,” says Height.
Height joined Banner on the Front Range in their Greeley office, but says the recruiters in their Arizona office are now all part of one department. “We recruit physicians for opportunities in seven Western states and it doesn’t matter where the recruiter is based, we’re an ‘All House’ department. The first thing we ask is: “What opportunity makes the most sense for a candidate?”
What’s Height’s biggest recruiting challenge?
“It’s hard to staff an office when physicians are constantly looking at many practice models,” says Height. The landscape of healthcare means physicians simply have a lot of opportunities. “Our team recruits for opportunities in small towns in Wyoming and even Alaska, but the difficulties of moving a doctor to a rural area aren’t as difficult as demonstrating why our employment model is great for them,” says Height.
In 2012, Height was attending the National Association of Physician Recruiters annual convention and saw a Doximity presentation by Chris Giaccio. She’d worked with Chris (who also lives in Colorado) earlier, so she met with him and signed up for Doximity Talent Finder licenses immediately, which made Banner Health an early adopter. Height says they had success discovering new candidates with Doximity Talent Finder almost immediately, particularly in hard-to-fill specialties like Primary Care and Hospitalists.
One story Height loves to tell is about a need they had for a Burn Surgeon. She says you can do volume searches for a lot of specialties, but there are a very small number of experienced, fellowship-trained burn surgeons in the entire U.S. – a small pool to recruit from. After doing a Doximity Talent Finder search, they came across a burn surgeon in the Midwest. The Surgeon wasn’t interested in moving, but a DocMail sent by the Banner team got her attention and opened a door. After six months of communicating via Doximity, the Surgeon formally submitted her CV! She applied for the position and signed an agreement to work three months later. “It took some time,” says Height, “But all good things do.”Physician candidates are now interviewing us.”
"Physician candidates are now interviewing us."
The healthcare landscape as a whole is a big challenge these days, too, says Height. “More than one physician candidate I’ve worked with has actually kept a spreadsheet of jobs!” she says. “It’s a buyer’s market for physician candidates. They’re actually interviewing us these days.”
She shared this great example: “Banner Health hires a lot of Primary Care/Family Medicine physicians so I’m always watching applications that come in. It used to be that 60% of our CVs came from that specialty. These days, it’s only about 25%.” Candidates are also very savvy – and they have to be to find the right fit with so many opportunities available to them.
"You're either all in or all out, or you're losing."
Height also pays close attention to performance metrics and says you have to brand yourself appropriately. They will sign upwards of 420 new physicians and advanced practice providers this year and that takes dedication, time, and patience. “Your job posts have to be clear, and your opportunities must be clearly defined,” says Height.
Doximity Talent Finder is an important part of the Banner Health recruiting tools mix. They have multiple service lines and a couple of Doximity champions who actually block out specific times to use it fully. Height compares using the tool to a gym membership you buy and never use: “You’re either all in or all out, or you’re losing,” says Height. The one thing they’ve seen exponentially successful with candidates is their branded templates. They designed and implemented Banner Health-branded templates and the job seekers often mention the branding consistency.
Height joined the Doximity Recruiter Advisory Board two years ago to put her expertise to work to create an even better physician recruitment product. You can read about another Innovator in Recruitment, Scott Robbins at Matrix Medical Network here. We also invite you to download a case study about how Height and Banner Health are innovating physician recruitment now: