PODCAST: Industry Leader Ann O'Brien on the Progress Towards Gender Equality in Health IT

June 1, 2018
Ann O’Brien, a recognized HIT thought leader, shares her thoughts on bridging the gender-based pay gap, how the transition to value-based care will create new opportunities for women in HIT and why 2018 is a powerful time to be a health IT leader.

In the health IT industry, gender equality continues to be a pressing issue as research has indicated a persistent pay gap between women and men professionals in this field.

A 2018 U.S. Compensation Survey from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), released back in March, found that, on average, both female and minority health IT professionals are paid less than their respective peers. Female health IT professionals on average make 18 percent less than their male peers, according to the survey.

What's more, a longitudinal assessment conducted by HIMSS found that female health IT workers in the United States have been consistently paid less over the past 10 years than their male peers, with the pay gap disparity worsening over time. In 2006, the average female IT worker made 81 percent of the average male IT worker’s pay. By 2015, this compensation gap widened by 2.7 percent to 78 percent, according to that study. And, research also indicates that women still only make up about 25 percent of senior leadership positions in healthcare technology.

Thought leaders across the industry have been working to tackle these issues and there are a number of initiatives to ensure that women's voices are heard in the health IT industry. In 2016, HIMSS established its Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards to recognize influential women at all stages of their career progressions.

This past year, Ann O'Brien, R.N., a well-regarded thought leader in nursing informatics and clinical transformation, was name one of the 2018 HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT awardees. O'Brien's resume includes extensive work in the area of nursing informatics and her contributions have focused on system-level strategic optimization of EHR (electronic health record) data and technology to improve patient safety and quality outcomes. She most recently served as senior director of clinical informatics at Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente.

O'Brien joined Healthcare Informatics Associate Editor Heather Landi on a recent podcast episode to discuss lessons learned during her ongoing successful journey as a HIT leader and how to address the gender-based pay gap in the industry. O'Brien shares her thoughts on the power of mentorship to support the next generation of leaders, why the transition to value-based care will create new opportunities for women in healthcare and why 2018 is a powerful time to be a health IT leader.

This podcast runs about 20 minutes in length and keep in mind that you can listen to all Healthcare Informatics podcasts right here.

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