As the new year begins, women in health IT are preparing to accomplish all of their career goals for the new calendar year. Below are insights from women identified by HIMSS as the most influential women in health IT during 2017 – as a recipient of the award itself or as members of the Awards Selection committee. They all discuss how to make the best of your career as both a team member and a mentor to others in the field of health IT.
Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture
“I’m driven by the bigger picture and love connecting people and ideas to solve problems. The direction the task force took was that we can’t forget to pay attention to what’s going on in other arenas by focusing solely on our own backyard.
It might surprise some people to know that I don’t really care about the percentage of patients that actually view, download or transmit their health information. I do care that 100% of patients have electronic access to that health information, know it is their right to access it, know how to access it, and can easily do so. We need to get away from the notion that patient data is an asset of a hospital or doctor. When you begin with this mindset, it is just a matter of taking the steps needed to achieve this shift in ideology.” Christina Caraballo, MBA, director of healthcare transformation, Get Real Health; recipient, 2017 HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Award
Think it through, then teach others
“I learned that if you want to explain something to someone, it helps to write the story down first; that forces you to be focused and precise on the topic at hand . . . I feel strongly that the world for women in IT could not be brighter. I am confident this potential will continue to grow – in the year 2017 and beyond.” Marion Ball, Ed. D, FAAN, FACMI, FCHIME, FHIMSS, FMLA, FAHIMA, IAHSI; recipient, 2017 HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Award
Focus on ‘what CAN be’ and ‘HOW to make it happen’
“Being a leader in health IT is an exciting, rewarding, and challenging role. I have the opportunity to advance technology and analytics to predict, prevent, treat and cure disease and to empower people to reach their health goals. That is my motivation every day. It's what drives me to work, to lead, and to partner with and mentor others toward that goal.
Leading these efforts and seeing the positive outcomes are incredibly rewarding. I believe that women can influence and lead from any role or position. Often, we are held back by "all that can go wrong" or by focusing on "all the reasons we can't-- not enough time, not enough money, fear of failure..." With a fearless focus on "what CAN be" and the drive to understand "HOW to make it happen," we can make a positive difference.” Lisa S. Stump, MS, RPh, FASHP, Sr. Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Yale New Haven Health and Yale School of Medicine; recipient, 2017 HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Award
Honesty and strong communication skills make a memorable leader
“Communication is the key to every successful relationship, personal and professional. When I have responsibility for any effort, for example, a technology implementation, or development of a strategic plan and budget, or daily operations of a large department, I connect at every level of the organization. I let them know how the project will impact them. It is impossible to ‘over-communicate’! Operate consistently within your sense of fairness and consideration for others. Your colleagues and bosses will recognize this leadership trait in you, and you will be valued not only for your job performance, but as a role model. Don’t promise the impossible; people will respect you more if you are truthful and direct in your dealings. You may not always be able to get them what they want, but frequently, you can get them what they need.” Diane Carr, MA, FHIMSS, former member, HIMSS North America board of directors; healthcare executive and educator; judge, 2017 HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards
Never stop growing your network
“My advice to young professionals is the same for everyone: cultivate a network of colleagues you admire and trust. We can’t do our best work alone, and having other talented professionals we can call on adds to our ability to: be creative, develop innovative ideas, move our initiatives forward, and continue to learn and grow as leaders.
We all need people around us who can listen and give advice and feedback – who can help us solve a problem or think through a strategy, or just to talk with when we’re feeling challenged. Being a resilient and creative leader depends on having a network of people who can step in to offer advice and assistance. And we can offer the same level of support to them.” Adrienne M. Edens, MA, LCHIME, FCHIME, CHCIO, vice president, education, CHIME; judge, 2017 HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards
Find a mentor, be a mentor
“Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship that can combat these challenges. It behooves those of us with experience in health IT to share our expertise and offer guidance to those in the “pipeline.” The future of healthcare depends on it.
I always suggest to those entering health IT, or any field, find a mentor, or at least identify positive role models. Talk to those you admire – find out how they ended up where they are in their career. Most people have a circuitous route to their careers. Even those with a career plan, rarely end up where they thought they were going.” Willa Fields, DNSc, RN, former chair, HIMSS Board of Directors; judge, 2017 HIMSS Women in Health IT Awards; and professor, School of Nursing, San Diego State University
Want to learn more about what HIMSS18 can offer women in health IT? Sign up for our webinar to learn more on Jan. 26, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. CST.