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Report Outlines the State of Gender Diversity in Digital Health

January 25, 2016
by Heather Landi
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According to a Rock Health report, 95 percent of women and 58 percent of men in digital health agreed that gender diversity has a positive impact on company performance yet many feel there need to be improvements in the hiring process to achieve gender diversity in executive leadership roles.

Leadership team diversity is known to improve company performance and growth and in 2015, of the 45 healthcare companies on the Fortune 500 list, 11 percent have either a women chief technology officer or chief information officer, the report found. And, the amount of companies that have executive teams made up of at least 25 percent women has dropped slightly by 6 percent since 2014, but still represents a 50 percent increase since 2013.

The report then drills down to the top 10 healthcare companies in the 2015 Fortune 500 list - seven companies have at least 25 percent of their board made up of women leaders, and nine out of 10 companies also have women holding C-level roles across the departments of technology, information, human resources, marketing, communications and legal. McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmeriSourceBergen are examples of firms that have gender diverse boards with an average of 30 percent women and more than one woman executive on their leadership team, the report authors state.

Among the 2015 Top 100 Hospitals, women make up on average 36 percent of the executive leadership in the hospitals. In addition, 17 hospitals were honored with the Everest Award for achieving the highest current performance and fastest long-term improvement over five years. Although only eight of the top 100 hospitals have a woman CEO, four of those eight hospitals also received the Everest Award.

Compared to 2014, 2015 was a better year for women CEOs in digital health, according to the report. Rock Health’s latest funding report discovered that while men still make up the majority of funded digital health CEOs, women led 29 companies funded in 2015, twice the amount than in 2014.

However, the report outlines that there is still an uphill climb for gender diversity in digital health. By comparison, 2014 and 2015 were record years for the highest number of women CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies, at 5 percent. “Unfortunately, this trend is not paralleled in the healthcare industry, as not enough women on executive teams are filling C-level roles,” research fellow Diljot Chhina stated.

Of the 45 Fortune 500 healthcare companies, the average number of women executives across all leadership teams continues to hover around 20 percent. None of the companies had 50 percent or more of their team composed of women executives.

“The diversity of the board plays an important role in improving the pipeline of talented and credible women who take on c-level roles. Sixty-three percent of the Fortune 500 healthcare companies have less than 25 percent of their board represented by women. This could be one of the underlying problems that is creating an inherent lag in the recruitment of women leaders in healthcare,” Chhina stated in the report.

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