The field of healthcare IT needs more people, more diversity and other people’s views and opinions. Agio’s Compliance Director, Deana Fuller, is often the only woman in a room full of health IT executives – men – who largely dominate the field of healthcare IT.
Her unique story is inspirational as she moved from a profession where she did not belong, to more schooling and then various leadership positions before she eventually joined Agio, one of the top IT and cybersecurity service providers to investment firms.
The US healthcare industry has often been referred to as the gold standard when it comes to gender diversity. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 77% of the healthcare workforce is made up of women. This is much higher than for any other sector. However, when it comes to executive roles within healthcare, that number is much lower than where it should be, and it has not gone up in the last ten years.
“We are the minority,” says Fuller. “We need more people, more diversity, other people’s opinions. I think we have more technical acumen than we have been given credit for.”
A survey of 150 companies (the 50 largest payers, providers, and pharma businesses) reports that only 18 have female CEOs. The medtech sector is even worse, with just one female CEO among the 50 largest companies in that subsector.
This is probably because of the largest contributing factor to a career in medtech, a STEM education, and only 24% of the STEM workforce overall is made up of women. However, despite the less than favorable numbers, there are still promising options that can deliver improvement.
If organizations are willing to commit to diversity, this can turn things around. Some things that could be implemented include highlighting senior women as role models, developing sponsorship programs for high-potential women, standardization of performance reviews and promotion criteria on the basis of hard metrics, and hiring from unconventional sources that will maintain a vibrant company structure and therefore an environment that is much more welcoming and supportive of women leaders.
Lastly, one of the most impactful ways companies could be more open to women leadership is by providing flexible work arrangements. And this has benefits not just for women but for men as well.
Agio’s female leader thrives in her role and constantly empowers other women. “Don’t walk away from an opportunity because it scares you,” Fuller said. “Finally, I would say to honor your team. Without my team, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities or success I have enjoyed.”
Agio, based in New York City, provides 24 hour IT support to clients and offers hedge fund cybersecurity solutions.