Oregon Health and Science University’s School of Medicine is well known for its focus on innovation and uniquely collaborative learning environment. Through cutting-edge research projects, a nationally recognized curriculum and a number one hospital ranking by U.S. News, OHSU School of Medicine offers its students much more than just a classroom.
With nearly 6500 submitted applications throughout each six-month rolling admissions cycle, the competition for a place in the medical program is fierce.
“Each year, we invite around 550 students to take part in our MMI,” shared Katy Guertin-Davis, the Administrative Manager at OHSU School of Medicine. “From there, we send out admissions offers to around 150 students.”
With so much on the line for applicants, the MMI plays a critical role in helping OHSU identify their best-fit candidates. Through eight to ten stations, two of which are collaborative, and a traditional one-on-one interview, OHSU is able to assess applicants’ aptitudes and soft skills in addition to their clinical knowledge.
Transitioning their process online in 2021, OHSU experienced one stress-inducing admissions cycle hosting a diminished version of their MMI on Webex before deciding that there must be a better way.
The solution was Kira Talent.
The tried and true process, reworked and derailed
“When we hosted our MMIs in person we had two long hallways set up exactly like a doctor’s office,” shared Kari Kreidberg, the Interview Coordinator at OHSU School of Medicine. “Each applicant would have two minutes to read the case outside of the room and then eight minutes to interact with reviewers in the room. In our collaborative stations, applicants were able to interact with one another as well as with the reviewers, as they made their way through role-playing scenarios and more traditional interview-style stations.”
“With Webex, we had to completely rework our tried and true process.”
“Webex was not designed for the MMI, it’s not easy to use, and relies a lot on the technical abilities of reviewers and applicants,” Kreidberg continued. “Roleplay stations, for example, were extremely important to our admissions process and we had to completely abandon the idea due to Webex’s functionality.”
OHSU was forced to eliminate the collaboration and role-play stations, and reduce the process to only six stations total with a shortened time of six minutes per station.
Logistical headaches and rampant errors
Applicants and reviewers were given a schedule of individual links and were instructed to click in and out of each link for their interactions, mimicking the idea of entering and leaving a room. Unfortunately, having multiple links that participants needed to keep track of created a lot of confusion for OHSU’s reviewers and applicants.
“Someone could click the link at the wrong time and end up too early, ending up in a room with another applicant,” explained Kreidberg.
Training reviewers on the platform proved to be a challenge as well, with Kreidberg spending countless hours in small group meetings walking reviewers through the process prior to them signing up to volunteer.
“Many of our reviewers needed this time to feel comfortable enough to use the Webex platform and sign up to volunteer,” she shared. “It took up quite a bit of my time just to train reviewers for the Webex platform and oftentimes we had to verbally walk reviewers through our file-sharing site. It created a lot of hand-holding through the whole process to make sure they were ready to go when the MMI started.”
And the administrative burden only grew as OHSU Medicine’s admissions team got closer to interview day.
“I spent countless hours troubleshooting,” explained Kreidburg. “Creating specific links for each room was a logistical headache and the intricate schedule that kept the process on track was constantly derailed by technical and user errors.”
“Reviewers would share their screen accidentally, camera and microphones were blocked by privacy settings and login issues would also get in the way,” she continued.
“Even with us checking each room, errors in Webex were rampant.”
Searching for a better solution
As the OHSU admissions team approached the 2022 admissions cycle, they knew something needed to change.
“We began looking for a platform that was easy to use and designed for our interviewing purposes,” Kreidberg shared. “Several platforms that we considered looked great on paper but just didn’t perform. Finally, we found Kira Talent.”
Using Live Interviewing in Kira, OHSU has been able to regain the integrity of their MMI, while making the virtual interview process more efficient with a platform built for medical school interviews.
“The roleplay stations are such an important part of our process, and having them back in our MMI has helped us better assess how applicants deal with conflict, professionalism, and general communication skills,” Kreidberg explained.
“This really pleased our admissions committee because we’ve regained the validity of the MMI, which is so important to their decision-making process.”
Hours saved and stress eliminated
Delivering their MMI with Kira Talent, OHSU School of Medicine estimates they’re saving over 5 hours per week, averaging 75+ hours per admissions cycle.
“Technical troubleshooting was a significant hurdle for our team with Webex, so having Kira’s 24/7 technical support has been huge,” Guertin-Davis shared.
“When we were using Webex I felt so disconnected from our reviewers and applicants and felt unable to build relationships with them like I could when we had our interviews in person.”
“With Kira, I’ve been able to reinvest the time-savings back into building those relationships,” Kreidberg added.
Boosting reviewer recruitment and retention
With so many hours back in her day, Kreidberg has been able to connect with her reviewers, learning about them and answering questions about cases they’ve prepared for the interview.”
“That kind of relationship-building is so important for reviewer retention.”
Like many schools, OHSU’s reviewing team is made up of volunteers. And while delivering the MMI online eliminated geographical constraints for recruitment, Guertin-Davis and her team know that they still need to offer an engaging experience if they want reviewers to volunteer again next cycle.
“Before using Kira, our reviewers had to juggle multiple links,” explained Guertin-Davis. “We relied on reviewers to share their screen, keep track of scoring documents, and remember where they were in the schedule. It was a lot to keep track of.”
“With Kira, we’ve seen considerably less turnover from previous years, both with Webex and in-person,” Guertin-Davis continued. “Our reviewers have found it easier to focus on conversations and are spending less energy worrying about things on the technical side going wrong, as they know they have instant access to Kira’s support team.”
“The positive experience has directly enhanced our reviewer recruitment and retention.”
A flexible platform to build your interview your way
“Another big reason why we chose Kira was the flexibility of the platform,” shared Guertin-Davis. “We love how the platform works within our existing system so seamlessly.”
“Kira lets us do everything we want without having to completely overhaul our very robust, homegrown application management system.”
“There was no one-size-fits-all approach with Kira,” she continued.
OHSU’s dedicated Client Success Manager (CSM) worked with the admissions team to design and build their custom Live Interview. From integrating an existing scoring system to supporting question randomization that promotes a fair admissions process throughout the rolling interviews.
“The Kira platform was flexible enough to adjust to suit our process, rather than the other way around.”
Delivering a seamless experience
“Kira’s seamless, single-click experience helps us deliver an engaging and professional MMI,” Guertin-Davis shared.
Having one link connecting participants to all of their stations has not only streamlined OHSU’s MMI experience for both applicants and reviewers, but it has vastly reduced the margin for user error. And with Kira’s all-in-one platform, reviewers aren’t having to juggle between screen sharing, interview links, scoring documents, and more, and can focus on their interactions with the applicants.
“Once the MMI starts, applicants rotate through their stations automatically, so it lets reviewers focus on the interactions themselves and not the details of where they have to go next,” explained Guertin-Davis. “It’s an efficient and intuitive platform that works for everyone involved. We don’t feel the need to check in and make sure things are running smoothly behind the scenes.”
OHSU School of Medicine’s new interviewing process received high praise from their applicants as well.
“Returning applicants who used Webex the year prior shared that Kira felt much more enjoyable,” Kreidberg shared. “We want our applicants to feel as comfortable and supported as possible, so they can see the kind of support our school offers.”
“We are certainly staying virtual next cycle,” Guertin-Davis added. “Logistically it just makes so much sense to keep our process online, especially given how pleased everyone has been with the Kira platform.”
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