When I went to medical school, women represented one third, or less, of all medical school students. Data now indicates women’s medical school enrollment is outpacing men’s – with incoming medical school classes comprised of 50 - 60% women.
The health information technology (HIT) sector has not followed the evolution of the medical profession we serve. HIMSS data disappointingly shows that today women comprise a smaller percentage of hospital CIOs, 25% today, compared with 32% a decade ago. A report by the Harvard School of Public Health reveals even more alarming information about women in leadership across the health care industry as a whole, quoting a 2013 report by Rock Health finding that although woman make up the majority of the health care workforce, they hold only 19 percent of hospital CEO positions, and head only 4 percent of health care companies.
NextGen Healthcare has made progress over the last few years, but we still have much work to do. Currently, 25% of our organization’s leadership team (VP and above) is comprised of female leadership.
Changing these ratios takes time and requires deliberate planning and preparation. Leadership teams need to take a proactive and purposeful approach to this problem since it is not sufficient to simply believe that parity among men and women is the desired state. At NextGen we have taken a very active approach through engagement of our Women in Technology employee resource group to set the standards for ensuring we have female candidates as part of every senior leadership candidate role.
The seeds of change must be planted long before individuals enter the work force. Girls and young women must have ample exposure to science and computer-science topics and education. Once women are represented more evenly in the HIT workforce, leadership roles will more evenly distribute amongst men and women. Additionally, leadership must make every effort to correct the pay disparity among men and women, since some estimates show that women in the HIT industry earn 83% percent of men’s salary for identical work. At NextGen, we have been working diligently on closing these historical gaps with our annual gender pay analysis. We are proud that we have closed the gap and continue to ensure equal gender pay is a pillar of our compensation philosophy.
Overall, I am optimistic that positive changes can occur and will eventually prevail. I am proud to be part of a company that is committed to this change. My optimism is also based on the remarkable changes I’ve witnessed in Medicine. When I was in medical school I would never have believed that during my career women would represent the majority in medical school classes… so clearly anything is possible.
Meet NextGen Ambient Assist, your new AI ally that generates a structured SOAP note in seconds from listening to the natural patient/provider conversation.Read Now