Diversity Initiative Aims to Increase Pipeline of Talented Health IT Workers
Cletis Earle – Chair, CHIME Board
A common theme emerged at last week’s CHIME Advocacy Summit, particularly in discussions about cybersecurity: Healthcare IT executives in many hospitals and healthcare organizations struggle to keep their departments properly staffed. Compounding that problem is the increasing sophistication of cyber criminals and the need for IT leaders with the talent and acumen to counteract these bad actors.
As we celebrate National Health IT Week and National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, I propose that we address this challenge with a workforce initiative to encourage diverse populations to enter into healthcare IT careers. CHIME has already taken the first step with the creation of the CHIME Diversity Committee, which I am chairing. We will unveil more details about the committee and our goals at 7 a.m. Nov. 1 during a Sunrise Session at the 2018 CHIME Fall CIO Forum in San Diego.
This is a perfect time for leaders in our industry to collaborate on tackling the digital divide and push efforts to introduce healthcare IT careers to communities that may not be aware of the opportunity this amazing industry has to offer. As healthcare continues to evolve from the four walls of the hospital and a fee-for-service business to a community-focused, value-based model, we will need a diverse and agile workforce that can identify with the communities we serve and help bridge the technology gaps.
Diversity is not just about race or gender; it is recognizing that people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and beliefs can solve common problems by coming together and offering different perspectives. This exchange of ideas and viewpoints is especially valuable when we are addressing global problems such as cyberattacks.
We are in the process of setting up an infrastructure to help facilitate collaboration between CIOs to promote sharing of ideas and successful strategies. For instance, my health system has teamed up with the local municipality, school system and businesses to introduce various areas of technology to students in grades 3-12 and higher education. This model is working, and it can work as a collective if we all work together to address this common challenge and apply a similar model in our communities.
If you are interested in making a change in our industry and to tap into the potential and power of a diverse community, please reach out to me. We can embark on this journey together and help build the next generation of healthcare IT leaders.
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