Women in Health Tech Panel
Overview of the panelist questions and my personal responses
Girls in Tech Los Angeles hosted a Women in Health Tech Panel at the Cedars Sinai Accelerator on April 25th, 2019. The diverse panelists made for great conversation and discussion around healthcare and technology. In case you missed the event, I wanted to share some of the questions along with my personal answers.
QUESTION: You have come into healthcare from a non-healthcare background. What drew you to the industry, and can you share a bit about your experience coming into this industry from other backgrounds
I think it's beneficial to come from a non-healthcare background, especially because healthcare has years of tradition but unfortunately lacks innovation compared to other industries. Coming from a marketing background, I bring a different perspective to the healthcare space along with innovative ideas. I feel that healthcare expertise is crucial to developing a successful healthcare solution, which is why I partner with medical experts to fill the healthcare expertise gaps that I cannot fill.
I was originally drawn to the industry for two main reasons. First, healthcare as an industry aligns with one of my personal passions of helping people. Healthcare is centered around helping people with their health. This alignment makes it easy for me to love what I do and the work involved within healthcare. Second, I had an idea to help cheerleaders with form and recovery. This idea is what originally put me on the healthcare path and the idea naturally pivoted into physical therapy/orthopedics to align with the right market fit.
QUESTION: The healthcare workforce in general is majority female, but healthcare technology still tends to be more male dominated – what are some suggestions you have for helping health tech be more representative of who is working in healthcare more broadly?
A male dominated environment is common no matter which vertical of tech you are in. I believe this is a result of tradition and environment. Men traditionally have tech jobs which has created a male-oriented environment within the space. I believe that there are less women in the industry because women don't have the same desire to be in tech, not because they lack the skills or resources. To change this and to attract more women, I believe we need to change the tech environment to be more open, friendly, and welcoming. Creating a community within tech rather than an environment where people have their heads down coding. Possibly starting the day with a 10 minute social coffee networking rather than hitting the computer immediately. Another initiative that can attract more women could be female oriented coding camps and programs. Once again, having to do with the overall environment.
QUESTION: What is one universal skill in this industry that every woman should master? Why?
Creativity is what comes to mind for me. Healthcare is already a serious industry, after all it comes down to life and death. Applying creativity to your job within healthcare will make your delivery more effective as well as make your job more exciting. From working as an admin handling filing and scheduling to the doctor diagnosing and treating, creativity can be applied in different ways. For example, doctors can adjust how they prescribe treatment plans based on receptive patients are. Children may be more receptive to imagery while adults may be more receptive to written instructions. Different technologies can be used as well to improve patient education, prescribing, and adherence. This is why creativity is important because it opens the door for healthcare providers to deliver better care.
QUESTION: How do you empower / inspire the women on your team?
I believe in positive reinforcement and make an active effort to acknowledge the good work of the women on my team. Constructive criticism is important as well, but it's expected from a boss/mentor. The positive feedback is what I have found to be truly motivating. I like to use specific examples when giving feedback to show that I'm paying attention to the details. In addition, I lead by example. I like to show the women that it is possible to work hard and achieve your goals. I also try to be as approachable as possible so that my team can feel comfortable asking for help or advice.
What do you find interesting and unique about being in Health Tech/Health Care?
I find it interesting that within healthcare, there can be so many solutions to the same problem. If you approach 3 different doctors regarding a medical situation, you may get three different answers based on their bias, education, and personal treatment preferences. There is no single right answer and thats the art behind the science within healthcare.
Thanks for reading, would love to hear what your responses would be to the questions above!
Audience Question: How do you overcome the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the space?
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