Women as Force-Multipliers

I transitioned into healthcare after spending 20 years in the telecommunications industry. Relative to the starkness of the gender imbalance in telecom, it has been refreshing to see such a strong representation of women in healthcare.

HIMSS18 was my indoctrination into #HIMSSanity, and it turned out to be everything I had heard leading up to the event. I registered for the Women in Health IT networking reception thinking of it both as a great platform to show my support to all of you in the healthcare industry, as well as a wonderful opportunity to encourage you to apply for a career at Carium, our new healthcare software startup.

Why recruit women?
That’s straightforward: Several of my most inspiring colleagues and managers have been women; unofficial and official mentors from whom I have learned about business strategy, negotiation, financial reporting, and technology. I am amazed by your ability to multitask; manage your work and personal lives, and do it all with grace and with excellence. I am excited to have your voices and ideas represented on our team; force-multiplying what we are doing.

Furthermore, our mission at Carium is to enable individualized healthcare. What does that mean? Let me explain. Today, individuals have very little control and influence over their healthcare journey and irregular access to their personal health records. They have relented to the status quo, begrudgingly accepting the lack of cost transparency.

This is changing. Consumerization of healthcare is underway.Value-based care is enabling pricing transparency. Genomics is furthering the personalization of medicine, and the proliferation of wearables and mobile devices makes data aggregation and dissemination possible to the vast majority. This transformation of healthcare requires a different approach from all sides; one that puts the person at the center, one that requires empathy and compassion – all traits that women are drawn toward and often exemplify. I can’t think of a better way to drive our success than to build a team that not only reflects the diversity of the audience we intend to benefit and serve, but also brings diversity of thought into everything we are doing.

As fate would have it … 
… I ran into Jenn Dennard (@JennDennard) in the elevator on the way to the reception at HIMSS18. It was my first time meeting Jenn; what luck! The universe was looking out for me and my mission for the evening.

During the course of the night, I met a number of you, each making extraordinary contributions to health IT; consultants offering your services to optimize clinical staff workflows, nurses that have grown into informatics leaders, and entrepreneurs who have founded your own healthcare companies. It was amazing to see so much talent concentrated in such a small space.

I asked each of you the same question: “I have a new healthcare software startup. What attributes about a company or job would attract women to apply?” Your answers were consistent: Offer flexibility (location, hours), demonstrate strong corporate responsibility and values, offer jobs with responsibility and accountability. It was wonderful to receive this feedback first-hand. We have taken it to heart, and have adopted this guidance into our recruiting approach. If there are other characteristics that you consider important, I would love to hear them.

It takes more than blogging
As the article Wanted: Women Entrepreneurs suggests, supporting women in healthcare takes more than blogging. It takes intent. I am committed to doing my part and am happy to offer career guidance and counsel to you and the #healthITchicks member community. All of you are well on the way to leaving your mark on healthcare.

I look forward to discussing possible opportunities at Carium with you and wish you success on your journey.

By Nirav Modi (@niravjmodi), co-founder of Carium.

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