Achieving Gender-Based Pay Equity

Since HIMSS’s July 27 2016 release of the longitudinal gender compensation study in which we reported on a widening pay gap between men and women health IT workers, I’ve published a blog on what these facts tell us, and an overview of why pay gaps exist. If knowledge truly precedes improvement, then it’s time to apply this knowledge on what we can do now to improve the situation.  To that end, here are some actions we invite you to engage in.

Women in Health IT Initiative  - HIMSS launched its Women in Health IT initiative in February, 2016.  Our initiative welcomes all genders in addressing the gender gap in health IT and the need to more effectively equip, empower, and recognize women sector-wide.  

Healthcare IT News – Part of the HIMSS family, Healthcare IT News recently launched a site and bi-weekly eNewsletter focused on this issue so that readers can get the latest news and developments across the sector.

Most Influential Women in Health IT Award - Now through Oct.  3, we’re accepting nominations for the Most Influential Women in Health IT.  You’ll note the word “influential.”  The criteria for this Award embraces women who are making positive change happen at all stages of their careers in health IT – from students to women running major health IT-related organizations.  Our judges represent leaders from across the health sector with a passion for the best use of IT to improve health and healthcare 

Women in Health IT Roundtable - At 2 p.m. ET on Aug. 25, our Women in Health IT Roundtable launches; we welcome all to register and join us.  Taking an inclusionary approach, for the first year our Roundtable will be open to HIMSS members and non-members alike.  We plan to host Roundtable webinars at least bi-monthly.  We’ll keep you posted on topics, dates and times, so you can join in.

STEPS to Value’s Women in Health IT Podcast Series: Starting in late August, the HIMSS’s hit podcast, STEPS to Value, will launch a monthly podcast series focused on Women in Health IT. These 15-minute interviews with women who lead healthcare and health IT at their respective organizations will bring to the programs interesting and valuable insights on their careers and focus on health IT.  Watch for this series, and in the meantime, listen to STEPS to Value’s season 2 opening episode "The Value of “People” vs. “Patients”: Understanding Long-Term, Post-Acute Care (LTPAC)”. 

 #healthITchicks – I want to highlight the excellent work that Jennifer Dennard is doing with #healthITchicks.  The #healthITchicks community has grown exponentially with the increasing attention to gender equality issues in the workplace. From politicians to mainstream media, gender-related workplace issues like equal pay and parental leave appear in an increasingly bright spotlight. 

Jennifer’s been excited to see participation in #healthITchicks’ LinkedIn group, tweet chats, and more recently, Blabs, increase month over month. Jennifer began organizing meetups at the HIMSS Annual Conference in 2013.  Every year, they’ve grown in attendance starting with 30 women and men. At the HIMSS16 meetup, at least 100 attendees brought a palpable energy and engaged in a very lively conversation.

As Jennifer explained, “I thought it so gratifying the several folks (most of them men) that came up to me afterwards to tell me how surprised they were by the buzz in the room, and how much they appreciated the event. It's important that we continue to create opportunities for our industry to discuss these issues.”

Let me close by saying how fortunate I am to work in what I believe to be one of the greatest sectors of the U.S. economy. Health IT experienced an explosive growth during one of the toughest economic periods in recent U.S. history and the attractiveness of our sector grew as IT workers from other industries sought employment in health and healthcare organizations.

The point is, now more than ever we in health IT need to live out the promise our field holds for all IT workers regardless of their gender, age, race, etc. It’s too important to do otherwise. An economy and society that actively equips, empowers, compensates, and advances all peoples has a much higher potential to achieve prosperity. 

Join Us. Knowledge precedes improvement.  It’s time to make positive change happen.  Please join us


HIMSS; women in Health IT