LAS VEGAS – Many women donned purple in support of International Women’s Day here on at HIMSS18.
In fact, Women in Health IT were a major focus this week at HIMSS18 from the very beginning. Denise Hines, CEO of eHealth Services Group, executive director of the Georgia Health Information Network and chairwoman of the HIMSS North America Board, took the main stage before the opening keynote by Alphabet Technical Advisor Eric Schmidt.
Schmidt weighed in with his own tribute to pioneering woman Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female to earn a medical degree, back in 1849, by discussing a combination of cutting-edge technologies to create a system that interacts with patients via voice, makes evidence-based suggestions to doctors and relieves users of the administrative burden of working in an EHR that he dubbed “Dr. Liz.”
HIMSS is working to bring more women into the healthcare information technology sector by creating several programs to encourage women to consider careers in the field.
The organization launched its Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards in 2017, for instance, to recognize women in healthcare information technology who have helped to transform health and healthcare.
And at HIMSS18 it honored influential women at all stages of their career. The four recipients this year are:
- Ann O'Brien, a thought leader in nursing informatics and clinical transformation. She is Senior Director of Clinical Informatics at Kaiser Permanente.
- Judy Murphy is Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) at IBM Global Healthcare, and a member of IBM’s Industry Academy. previously served as CNO and Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy at the Office of the National Coordinator.
- Jessica Kahn has been recognized for her national leadership, willingness to collaborate, and steadfast support for health IT adoption across the country.
- Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono leads the Defense Health Agency. She has spearheaded several strategic health information technology initiatives for the Military Health System, initiatives that are ensuring the readiness of 1.4 million military forces worldwide.
And what better place to celebrate women than at HIMSS18? The annual Women in Health IT Networking event was held this year at the Palazzo Pool in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Each year the venue gets larger to accommodate the ever-increasing crowd size. Attendees discussed their current projects and plans for the year and marveled over major project announcements (such as those from Google and others).
HIMSS also hosted a Women in Healthcare IT Roundtable at the HIMSS Annual Conference and the group discussed ways to improve the status of women in the healthcare IT workforce, mentoring and pay parity.
The worldwide International Women’s Day celebration coincided with the HIMSS’ annual conference, which runs from March 5 through March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Senior Editor Jessica Davis contributed to this report.