TOP 10: Women in health care leadership roles
Women dominate the health care workforce by a ratio of 3 to 1, according to Modern Healthcare. But organizations need to develop and expand efforts that promote opportunity for women at the top levels of management.
Progress in recent years has increased the number of women in the health care C-suite but there is more work to be done.
According to the American Hospital Association, 26 percent of hospital and health system CEOs in 2014 were women. That is a large gender gap.
While reaching gender diversity in health care leadership is still a work in progress, Modern Healthcare recently highlighted the top 25 women in health care. Here are the top 10.
1. Leah Binder
Under Binder’s leadership as president of the Leapfrog Group, a not-for-profit focused on improving safety and quality in hospitals, Leapfrog launched the Hospital Safety Score, which assigns letter grades to hospitals across the country.
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2. Maureen Bisognano
As president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Bisognano, 62, advises healthcare leaders on issues such as patient-centered care, value-driven change, population health and operational challenges. She also advocates for IHI’s triple aim of better care, better health and lower per-capita costs—which many healthcare organizations have adopted to guide systemwide transformation.
3. Marna Borgstrom
Borgstrom, CEO of the Yale New Haven Health System, has been with the organization since the beginning of her professional career. After earning a master’s degree in public health from Yale in 1979, she worked as a postgraduate fellow with Yale-New Haven Hospital, the system’s flagship.
4. Deborah Bowen
Bowen is president and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the professional association for healthcare’s current and next generation of leaders. More than 40,000 industry managers and executives turn to the organization for career development and networking events.
5. Mary Brainerd
Brainerd has been president and CEO of HealthPartners since 2002, and has been with the organization since 1992. Brainerd, 60, oversees a system of more than 22,000 employees, including seven hospitals, 55 primary-care clinics, 22 urgent-care sites and more than 1,700 physicians.
6. Ruth Brinkley
Brinkley has been the CEO of KentuckyOne Health since it was created through the 2012 merger of Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and St. Joseph Health System. She joined the Louisville-based system after serving as CEO of Ascension Health’s Carondelet Health Network in Tucson, Ariz.
7. Sylvia Mathews Burwell
As HHS secretary, Burwell, 49, oversees a trillion-dollar agency with nearly 80,000 workers. Since taking the top post in June of 2014, Burwell has also been the Obama administration’s public face on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Before joining HHS, Burwell spent just over a year as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
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8. Debra Cafaro
When Cafaro became CEO of Ventas in 1999, she had a law degree and experience in real estate finance, but none in healthcare. She has plenty now. The real estate investment trust she leads specializes in healthcare properties, claiming a portfolio of more than 1,600 assets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Cafaro, 57, ranked 27th last year among the best-performing CEOs in the world, according to the Harvard Business Review, based on its estimate that Ventas produced a 1,636 percent return for investors during her tenure.
9. Dr. Christine Cassel
Cassel, 69, has been president and CEO of the National Quality Forum since 2013. Before that, she was CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation. She was the first female president of the American College of Physicians and the first female dean of Oregon Health & Sciences University. She also sits on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
10. Pamela Cipriano
Last June, Cipriano was elected president of the American Nurses Association. The century-old labor organization advocates on behalf of the country’s more than 3 million registered nurses. Cipriano, 61, is also a research associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing.
For the full list of women and more information on each, read the full story here.
How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats
One of the most fundamental lessons from the COVID crisis is that health should always be a priority. In a similar fashion to the human body that frequently fights off viruses and foreign invaders that intend to cause it harm, the sector itself is now a prime target for another type of external threat: cyberattacks.
The figures speak for themselves: between December and January this year, hospitals in the UK were at 89% capacity, with 7,000 fewer available beds than there usually are. As the pandemic increased pressure on hospitals, clinics, and research facilities to create a treatment for patients globally, it has left the sector exposed to hackers who, like a virus, have been targeting it relentlessly and evolving their tactics.
From patient records being held ransom, to fake emails claiming to originate from the UN WHO, the NHS, or vaccine centres, through to attacks on the cold supply chain to find out the secret formula of the COVID vaccine, the healthcare industry is facing constant cyberattacks and struggling to cope. This threat is unlikely to go away anytime soon – and as such, the industry needs to take a proactive, preventative stance to stay safe in a dynamic digital world.
The responsive nature of healthcare – particularly of hospitals – means that efficiency is crucial to the industry’s standard operations. To support this, the sector has been embracing technological advancements that can improve the quality of work, enabling staff to meet pressing deadlines, and enhancing patient care. For example, the industry has been digitising records and improving its ways of working through digital means over the past few years.
This shift is critical to offer high quality patient care; yet, it also means the sector has become more dependent on IT, which can come with a risk if cybersecurity processes employed are deemed as inadequate.
Without the correct security measures in place, the desired efficiency gains realised, can be easily lost in a heartbeat. Simply put, an elementary glitch in the system can have a tremendous ripple effect on many areas, from accessing patient records and conducting scans, to maintaining physical security and protecting the intellectual property of experimental treatment development.
To prevent this, healthcare organisations need to ensure they’re considering cybersecurity as part of their overall digital transformation strategy – and setting the right foundations to create a culture where safety goes hand in hand with patient care.
Before implementing cybersecurity process, healthcare organisations need to assess the potential risks they face. Depending on how much confidential data the trust has, where it is stored, who has access to it and via which means, the cybersecurity strategy and associated solutions will change.
It’s fair to say that a medical device start-up where all employees have a corporate-sanctioned laptop and access data via a VPN will have radically different needs to a large hospital with hundreds of frontline workers connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi using their personal device.
These requirements will pale by comparison to a global pharmaceutical giant with offices in multiple locations, a large R&D department researching new treatments for complex diseases and a fully integrated supply chain. Considering the existing setup and what the organisations is looking to achieve with its digital transformation strategy will therefore have an immediate impact on the cybersecurity strategy.
Despite this, there are fundamentals that any organisation should implement:
Review and test your back-up policy to ensure it is thorough and sufficient – By checking that the organisation’s back-up is running smoothly, IT teams can limit any risks of disruption in the midst of an incident and of losing data permanently.
In our recent State of Email Security report, we found that six out of ten organisations have been victims of ransomware in 2020. As a result, afflicted organisations have lost an average of six days to downtime. One third of organisations even admitted that they failed to get their data back, despite paying the ransom. In the healthcare industry, this could mean losing valuable patient records or data related to new treatments – two areas the sector cannot afford to be cavalier about.
Conduct due diligence across the organisation’s supply chain – Healthcare organisations should review their ways of working with partners, providers and regulatory institutions they work with in order to prevent any weak link in their cybersecurity chain. Without this due diligence, organisations leave themselves exposed to the risks of third party-led incidents.
Roll out mandatory cybersecurity awareness training - Healthcare organisations shouldn’t neglect the training and awareness of their entire staff – including frontline workers who may not access the corporate network on a regular basis. According to our State of Email Security report, only one fifth of organisations carry out ongoing cyber awareness training.
This suggests it is not widely considered as a fundamental part of most organisations cyber-resilience strategy, despite the fact many employees rely on their organisation’s corporate network to work. By providing systematic training, healthcare organisations can help workers at all levels better understand the current cyberthreats they face, how they could impact their organisation, the role they play in defending the networks, and develop consistent, good cybersecurity hygiene habits to limit the risks of incidents.
Consider a degree of separation – Information and Operational Technology (IT and OT) networks should be separated.
Although mutually supported and reliance on each other, employees shouldn’t be accessing one via the other. This should be complemented by a considered tried and tested contingency and resiliency plan that allows crucial services to function unabated should there be a compromise. Similarly, admin terminals should not have internet access to afford a degree of hardening and protection for these critical accounts.
As the sector becomes a common target for fraudulent and malicious activity, putting cybersecurity at the core of the organisation’s operations is critical. It will help limit the risks of disruption due to cyberattacks, reduce time spent by the cybersecurity team to resolve easily avoidable errors, and ensure that institutions can deliver patient care, safe in the knowledge that their networks are safe.
Fighting future threats
With technology continuing to change the face of healthcare, the surface area and vectors available for attacks by malicious actors is constantly increasing. With the introduction of apps, networked monitoring devices, and a need for communication, the attack vector is ever expanding, a trend that needs to be monitored and secured against.
To prevent any damage to patients, staff, or the organisation they are responsible for, healthcare leaders must put security front and centre of their digital transformation strategy. Only then can the sector harness the full benefits of technology. Doing this should include implementing cybersecurity awareness training to challenge misconceptions around security, encourage conversation, and to ensure employee knowledge of the security basics and threats faced.
This ultimately allows healthcare organisations to do what they do best: provide the highest standard of patient care, safe in the knowledge that their operations, patients, and data are safe.