Digital Health Needs More Women In Leadership Positions

This week, Rock Health published a report on the state of women in healthcare, which shed a dismal pall over the healthcare industry, an industry that is dominated by women holding majorities within its workforce, and as key decision makers within its customer base. The report concludes that while 80 percent of a families healthcare decisions are made by women, and 78 percent of the workforce in healthcare are women, only 34 percent of executives at major US hospitals are women, with even fewer holding seats on the Boards of Directors.

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Rock Health, which was founded by Halle Tecco, herself an inspiring female working in health IT, quickly focuses the report on the seemingly progressive subsection of healthcare that it has the most influence on: digital health. Here, women in key leadership positions are dramatically underrepresented. Just six percent of funded digital health startups are led by women CEOs. The report goes on to point out some correlations between startups with women directors, and overall financial success. Startups with three or more female directors have a higher return on investment, return on stock, and return on equity when compared to their male-led counterparts. Startups with women on the leadership team also seem to enjoy higher valuations during funding rounds, and VC firms with women partners are two-to-three times more likely to invest in a company with women in leadership positions.

In a survey conducted by Rock Health, women working in healthcare report a lack of gender diversity in leadership, which many believe is the result of gender discrimination or simply organizational neglect over women’s career development initiatives. Respondents also report that men have an easier time finding mentors that can help them steer their own careers. The report also analyzes pay disparities between men and women working in healthcare, which can range from just seven percent for pharmacists to 45 percent for physicians.

Digital health can and should do better. HIStalk Connect would love to profile some of digital health’s inspiring women leaders to discuss the road they took to entrepreneurial success. If we have any readers that would be interested in doing an interview for this, please reach out.


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