Addressing diversity gaps in healthcare technology management

TRIMEDX Inclusion Strategy Manager Breanna Johnson recently contributed an article to AAMI News about how TRIMEDX invests in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to bridge the diversity gap in healthcare technology management. The full article, as it appeared May 10, 2024, is below.

Like many technology sectors, healthcare technology management (HTM) faces significant diversity gaps that can hinder its ability to fully meet the needs of diverse patient populations. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation’s (AAMI) 2021 survey of over 7,000 HTM professionals shed light on the existing diversity barriers within the industry. TRIMEDX has recognized this, and continues to invest in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) to bridge this gap. What follows is a summary of what the independent clinical asset management company has implemented as part of its DEIB strategy, providing insight for other organizations and companies also looking to enrich the HTM field.

Understand your diversity gaps

Based upon the survey data from AAMI, the results show the HTM industry has historically struggled with diversity and inclusion. Women, racial & ethnic minorities, and individuals from underrepresented communities have been underrepresented in the industry. Progress is needed in this area because a diverse workforce brings a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table, leading to better problem-solving, improved patient outcomes, and increased innovation.

Commitment to improving DEIB starts at the top, with leadership actively promoting a culture of inclusivity. At TRIMEDX, leaders are actively working towards creating an even more inclusive environment by implementing inclusive leader training, fostering a culture of belonging, and growing our existing DEIB commitment.

While TRIMEDX’s diversity demographics are better than the industry average, we acknowledge the importance of continuous improvement. We understand there is always room for growth and are committed to further enhancing our diversity initiatives.

Reconsider your recruitment and hiring practices

To address the diversity gap, TRIMEDX is in the process of revamping our recruitment and hiring practices. We are actively seeking diverse talent by partnering with organizations that focus on underrepresented groups, such as Diversity Roundtable of Central Indiana, Asian American Alliance Inc., and Circa Works Diversity Jobs. These partnerships give us visibility to diverse talent pools and exposure on their associates job boards. With the reduction in BMET programs throughout the United States, our organization is implementing programs for job candidates with non-traditional backgrounds. Actively seeking non-traditional talent will bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the HTM industry. By widening our talent search, we aim to attract a diverse pool of talent and create opportunities for underrepresented individuals to enter the industry.

In addition, TRIMEDX invests in the next generation of clinical engineering talent through a BMET apprenticeship program, in partnership with the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI).

Apprenticeship opportunities at TRIMEDX align with the structure and support of the DoL-recognized AAMI BMET Apprenticeship Program, setting a national standard for excellence among entry-level HTM staff. Apprenticing with TRIMEDX provides a pathway to a career in clinical engineering for people who have little to no experience or non-traditional backgrounds. The program requires 4,000 to 6,000 hours of on-the-job learning as well as collegiate-level courses and training experience. All opportunities are sponsored by TRIMEDX, which removes barriers that previously existed to enter the industry.

To ensure a fair and inclusive hiring process, our organization has also implemented policies that promote fair hiring practices. These include unconscious bias training for hiring managers, standard interview templates, and regular monitoring of hiring metrics. By removing biases from the hiring process, we aim to create a level playing field for all candidates and ensure we are hiring the best candidate.

Leverage associate resource groups

TRIMEDX established associate resource groups (ARGs) that provide supportive networks to our associates. Our ARGs focus on promoting awareness, fostering a sense of belonging, and encouraging allyship. By creating a supportive environment, we have been able to prompt professional growth and development of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. In 2023, nearly 20% of our ARG participants experienced career advancement.

Our ARGs have continued to see membership growth annually, while maintaining engagement and favorability scores of over 90%. Our ARGs play a vital role in advising the company on inclusivity matters and suggesting improvements in policies, procedures, and inclusivity efforts. Some examples include additional cultural & religious observances, enhanced access to education for heritage months, a dedicated learning series for women-identifying associates, and added resource groups for LGBTQ+ and veteran identifying associates & allies.

Don’t neglect soft-skill training

Recognizing the importance of continuous learning, TRIMEDX implemented targeted education that focuses on unconscious bias, cultural competency, and inclusive leadership. These programs aim to educate our associates about unconscious biases and provide them with the skills to effectively navigate and appreciate different perspectives. By investing in focused associate education, we ensure our teams are equipped with the knowledge to combat unconscious biases.

In addition, we regularly conduct associate surveys and listening sessions to gather feedback from employees and identify areas for improvement. This quantitative and qualitative data-driven approach allows us to continuously assess progress and make informed decisions to address remaining barriers to diversity.

Our organization seeks to be at the forefront of closing the diversity gap in the industry. Through our inclusive recruiting and hiring practices, associate resource groups, training, and development programs, we are actively working towards creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Our goal is to create a workplace culture where everyone feels like they belong. An inclusive culture is for everyone regardless of gender, religion, learning style or perspectives.  We know the HTM industry can better serve the needs of all patients and drive innovation in the field when it accurately reflects the communities it serves.