Health IT

For #HITchicks, mentors and mentoring programs represent greatest need

It seems like every conversation about women in a particular industry at some point brings up the question: Should we really be focusing on gender? In a #HIT Chicks Twitter chat between women in health IT as part of National Health IT week, the answer seemed to fall along the lines of no, but yes, […]

It seems like every conversation about women in a particular industry at some point brings up the question: Should we really be focusing on gender? In a #HIT Chicks Twitter chat between women in health IT as part of National Health IT week, the answer seemed to fall along the lines of no, but yes, but no.

Jennifer Denard, social marketing director with Billians, drew attention to stats from its report on Women in the Hospital C-Suite published last month as an interesting healthcare IT trend. It showed that only 30 percent of the CIOs for 4,264 hospitals are women, compared with 88.5 percent who are Chief Nursing Officers at 6,547 hospitals.

One challenge is first attracting women to STEM careers, but another is keeping them on the path to C-level positions. A survey a few years back by CIO magazine suggested that hospital CIOs tend to be the oldest compared with other industries with an average age of 49. I’m not a mother myself but it’s not difficult to understand that it’s tough to balance the battling priorities of raising a family and career commitments.

And yet several women appear on The Health Care blog post on suggested people to replace Farzad Mostashari when he leaves his post as head of the Office of National Coordinator this fall. A comment by one participant recounting a phone chat with a hospital CEO and being interrupted by her baby in the background drew many retweets like this one.

That’s the kind of encouragement women need to keep the healthcare C- suite in their sites. On the other hand, there’s a dilemma between emphasizing maternal instincts and wanting to focus on experience and skills. If women highlight their mothering skills as a quality that makes them a good director, it seems like they’re undermining the argument to get beyond gender and focus on merits. One of the comments on the Tweetchat touched on that point to some extent.

The biggest need seems to be mentorship programs or at least advice on how to seek out, identify and connect with mentors positioned to offer valuable insights on the industry. @lynne_t_gordon Any advice on how to seek out a mentor? Look within industry, or to different industry, for example? #HITchicks

 

 

 

 

30 percent of CIOs are women according t data from Billians healthcare