Women in Europe are Igniting Positive Change for Health IT

Breaking Bias: Why Has It Taken So Long To Achieve Equity in Healthcare Leadership?

HIMSS, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, hosted a webinar discussing how European women in the Health IT field are creating a wave of positive change in their industry. HIMSS also conducted a survey with 101 respondents and each person answered 17 questions. There were five speakers with diverse backgrounds that responded to questions and gave their opinions on how women can impact health IT. This blog post will cover the most pertinent and interesting topics discussed in the webinar. 

Key Findings from the Survey

  1. Women feel like their contributions are being recognized in the workplace.
  2. More than half of women surveyed still feel gender discrimination at their workplace.
  3. Lower salary, lower chances of promotion, and exclusion from decision making are major forms of discrimination.

To understand the respondents, the majority of them had a clinical or IT background, either a career as a physician or program developer, and they mostly worked at hospitals, private consulting companies, or academic institutions. The respondents had a diverse range of years of experience in their field. The chart from the webinar indicates the respondents’ years of experience. 

Question 1: Is there enough recognition for the contribution of women professionals in the healthcare IT industry?

More than 80% of women feel their contribution to the industry has not received enough recognition. This is an 11% decline compared to the 2018 survey. One of the respondents said,

“There was no outward discrimination, but the departments are very male oriented and difficult to be comfortable in. It is a very subtle feeling of being female in an all- or very male environment and our C-suite is more than 60% male.”

Question 2: How do you deal with gender discrimination? The top three responses were…

  1. Work harder & longer and make fewer demands. 
  2. Open discussions with HR and colleagues.
  3. Quitting the job.

The webinar speakers shared their thoughts on this topic. Kathrine Myhre, CEO of Norway Health Tech, shared that women should not work harder or longer than their male counterparts, but they should be more strategic with the projects they are working on.

Question 3: What networking events for women do you currently attend?

46% of the women respondents said, there are no meetups or conferences aimed at empowering and connecting women and 50% of the respondents didn’t know of any influential women in Europe that work in health IT. 

Groups like RADxx work to offer networking and mentoring opportunities for leaders in radiology, informatics, and IT management of radiology systems. Two upcoming events include the RADxx Tweet Chat: Women in Leadership happening September 16th, 2019 from 7:00 – 8:00 pm EDT and the 3rd Annual RADxx Awards taking place during the RADxx Networking Event: Cocktails for Change. The RADxx awards recognize the achievements of women in the field of medical imaging informatics, as well as anyone— both men and women— who have helped and supported women in medical imaging informatics.