Leadership Corner: Health Information Technology, Diversity and Gender Inclusion

Posted on July 11, 2019

The Leadership Corner features monthly updates from the MHA leadership team. The updates will provide new insights to patient safety and quality as well as information obtained from healthcare workshops and conferences across the country.

Renée Smiddy, MSBA, director of research and performance measurement, Michigan Health & Hospital Association Service Corporation, discusses how health outcomes can be improved through information and technology and the ways improved health information technology outcomes can be achieved through diversity and gender inclusion.

Renee SmiddyHealth information technology (HIT) lives at the intersection of technology, data science and healthcare. Therefore, HIT is critical in leading efforts to advance quality of care by creating platforms that help clinicians prevent medical errors and increase administrative efficiencies.

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the industry as emerging technologies become available that study artificial intelligence and can diagnose cancer, predict patient outcomes and decrease costs.

As we continue to collect, organize and create healthcare data to help improve people’s lives, I hope it’s done inclusively and represents all genders and backgrounds – because an inclusive culture is not something you have, it’s something you do.

There are numerous research studies that highlight the benefits of having women and other underrepresented groups be part of a team and serve in leadership roles.

One study explores a team’s collective intelligence and how having more women on a team is associated with higher levels of collective intelligence. IBM Institute for Business Value reports organizations that actively promote women’s abilities to move into leadership roles outperform organizations that don’t by 25% in profitability and 23% in revenue growth.

Yet, the National Center for Women and Information Technology reported that only 26% of the computing occupations in the 2018 U.S. workforce were held by women, with 3% being African American women and 2% being Hispanic women.

Recruiting, retaining and promoting women in HIT is essential to advance the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the U.S. will have 3.5 million computing-related job openings by 2026. The healthcare industry will be competing with other industries for the same talent as we continue to automate and build algorithms to assist clinicians in providing high-quality care.

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association has committed to advocating and motivating women in the field of healthcare information technology and data science. Our first initiative, the Women in Healthcare Data Conference, aims to inspire, educate and support women in the field. The one-day conference will be held Sept. 27 at the Lansing Community College – West Campus. Additional information is available on the conference's webpage.  

This article was featured in the MHA Keystone Center Newsletter. To subscribe, please contact Ashley Sandborn, MHA Keystone Center communications specialist.


  • Leadership Corner: Health Information Technology, Diversity and Gender Inclusion

Tags: MHA Keystone Center, Leadership Corner, Women in Healthcare Data, Renee Smiddy

Posted in: MHA Rounds, Patient Safety and Quality

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