HIMSS Europe has announced the launch of a dedicated Women in Health IT Community aimed at giving women a platform to share experiences and enable them to work together to close gender gaps.
The announcement comes following research in the US that shows that in 2006, the average female IT worker made 81 percent of the average male IT salary and now that gap has widened to the point where women are paid only 78 percent for doing the same jobs, according to the HIMSS Longitudinal Gender Compensation Assessment. For-profit providers showed the greatest salaries disparities, paying women IT professionals just 67 percent of what paid men to do the same work. Four factors are attributable to inequality: tenure in their current position, level of managerial responsibility, type of healthcare organisation and organisational tax status.
The official launch of the Women in Health IT Community at a European level will take place during the World of Health IT congress (WoHIT) in Barcelona organised by HIMSS Europe on 21st and 22nd of November.
“HIMSS Europe has a large number of female members, many of which hold senior positions in the public and private sector, and many have made enormous contributions to advancing healthcare through better use of technology. Yet the study done by HIMSS shows that female health information technology professionals have been doing the same jobs as males for less money for years, and the gap is growing wider,” said Christina Roosen, VP Public Affairs at HIMSS Europe.
HIMSS Europe believes that a significant opportunity exists to serve this growing, engaged community focusing on career development and recognition of contributions women leaders are making in healthcare IT. Promoting the role of these professionals will not only have a positive impact in the sector as a whole but will encourage IT female students to pursue their dreams.
Nanna Skovgaard, Head of the Centre for Health Economics at the Danish Ministry of Health thinks Health IT should overcome its barriers in attracting women professionals, commenting on the launch of the community, she said: “It is not so much a case of promoting women in health IT –it is more the other way around- to promote health IT to women and make the case that it is interesting and it can make a difference to people.”
Catherine Chronaki, Secretary General at HL7 Foundation and member of the Women in Health IT community said: “Currently, gender imbalance is a limiting factor to the social impact of digital health technology. We can bring change tapping into an astonishing pool of young
talent ready to make a difference. The Women in Health IT community can be pivotal in integrating different perspectives and alleviating gender bias.”
HIMSS Europe is conducting a short survey to determine what challenges women in healthcare IT face and what opportunities they have leveraged along their career path. By understanding the needs, HIMSS Europe will be in a strategic position to help women further empower themselves as leaders in healthcare IT. The results of the survey will be presented during the World of Health IT congress in Barcelona.
In addition, during the eHealth Week that will be held in Malta in May 2017, HIMSS will present the Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards which will recognise influential women at all stages of their career progressions.