A blog topic I’ll never understand, just ask my wife, but March is Women’s History Month so let’s talk about the contributions of women in health care – a field that has benefited from their efforts and influence longer and more profoundly than any other.
Women have played a key role in the leadership and foundation of health care in America. Florence Nightingale, Mary Eliza Mahoney, Dr. Emily Blackwell and Clara Barton are all famous women in US health care (if you’re not familiar with a name take a second to google it, you’ll be glad you did). Toniann Richard, Chrissy Wilson, Dannette Doolittle, Jill Thompson and Regina Herzlinger are modern-day health care advocates who have been mentioned, featured, or will soon be a contributor to this blog.
Beyond the names mentioned above there are millions of women who have played, and continue to play, a pivotal role in health care leadership and the health care work force.
At GVMH 83% of our workforce is female so to say women are critical to our operations is an understatement. Without women we don’t have a hospital.
Women working in and providing leadership in health care is only half the story. Women also make most health care decisions. A Greenberg Quinlan Rosner study found that 73 percent of women identify themselves as their household’s primary decision maker for health issues. Increasing numbers of working women are also assuming responsibility for their aging parents’ health decisions. Clearly, women will exert tremendous influence over health care’s future.
I asked Tammy Woirhaye, our Director of Marketing, how women influence health care service offerings at GVMH and this is what she told me:
GIRLPOWER in Healthcare!
Women operate as the “chief purchasing officers” in almost all households, and they are responsible for more than 80% of healthcare decisions. That is a powerful statement, and GVMH efforts reflect the importance of it.
Three years ago, we formed an internal women’s services committee to enhance and develop services provided to women. We soon learned that we needed to focus on what the women want, not what we think they want. Women’s market research was conducted, the research results were evaluated, and a decision was made to form an external committee.
The Women’s Services Steering Committee was formed to help validate the research findings as well as provide guidance as we make decisions that impact women. The Steering Committee consists of over 20 women, ranging in age from 20-70, and the committee meets every other month. Some of the women are GVMH customers, and some are not. We gather feedback, share information, conduct strategic planning, assign “secret shopping” tasks, and utilize the expertise of the women to help make decisions. They are our “window to the community.”
I would like to thank all of those who have been involved in helping with the women’s services efforts. It is definitely an ongoing team effort. I am proud of the fact that we have shifted our thinking and are truly listening to our customers as we develop and enhance our women’s services.