The idea was simple. Comb through my networks to uncover stories of health IT companies committed to equal pay for all. You’ve seen the headlines. You can’t help but be aware of the statistics. Study, after study, after study shows the gender-based pay gap is alive and well. And so it seems is health IT’s apathy towards doing anything about it.
Perhaps I didn’t cast my net widely enough. Perhaps I was naive. Perhaps the fact that just two companies – CoverMyMeds and Fast Layne Solutions – eventually contacted me to share their equal pay efforts is an accurate reflection of the industry’s dedication to equal wages. After all, the latest compensation study from HIMSS shows that “the gender pay gap is back at its 2006 level after a period in which the gap appears to have widened.” More alarmingly, the same study has found that female digital health professionals are just as satisfied with their pay as their higher salaried male peers!
I may be naive, but I’m also an optimist, and so I believe that two is a magic number – a number that can easily be increased. A number that can serve as both benchmark and stark reminder that there is where we were and here is where we’re going.
The first in that duo of health IT companies is Fast Layne Solutions, a practice and revenue cycle management company serving physician practices across the country. President and CEO Christopher Hughey tells me that he started the company so that he could experience the “antithesis of what I experienced in my 20-year career in the US tech sector. As a result, our founding principles include commitments to equality, diversity, equal pay, and giving back in the form of directing 5 percent of all net profits to St. Jude’s.
“To be honest, Fast Layne Solutions has no ‘secret sauce’ in this regard,” Hughey adds. “It’s a very simple approach: Equal work and equal experience should yield equal pay, without respect to sex (or any other consideration for that matter). We also promote efforts to end gender income disparity by practicing affirmative action with respect to gender (among other factors). In other words, if presented with two equally qualified candidates, we prefer to give the opportunity to the female candidate. This helps address (in our own small way) one of the many underlying root causes of pay disparity: Since women have on average fewer opportunities than men for advancement, their opportunities for gaining the experience required to earn at parity with men are reduced, thus worsening the income gap even for women who do not face active wage discrimination.”
The second is CoverMyMeds, a health IT company focused on helping providers and pharmacists fill out prior authorization requests electronically. HR Director Veronica Knuth firmly believes that to “attract the best and brightest people to join our team, we need to focus on being an amazing place to work, and that starts with equal pay and equal opportunities for everyone. CoverMyMeds is committed to creating an environment where our employees can be themselves, embrace challenges and achieve amazing results …. It’s time that companies across the nation come together to support this effort of encouraging equal pay and equal opportunities for all employees.”
Two companies are a start (feel free to let me know of more in the comments below) – one that will hopefully propel this discussion exponentially forward when #EqualPayDay comes around again in 2019. For now, I encourage you to consider how your company can do a better job of becoming aware of existing pay disparities. Awareness is the first step in enacting meaningful change, and if there’s one thing health IT is good at, it’s attempting to disrupt the status quo.