Women in tech

From challenge comes change

The theme for the 2021 International Women’s Day – #ChooseToChallenge – is a timely and important call to action because of the challenges we all face in healthcare and elsewhere. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to adapt to huge changes and restrictions in our personal and professional lives. But it’s also made it clear that battling back, creating a new “normal,” and making lasting improvements demands collaboration and innovative thinking from all of us. We’ll get the best input and solutions only when we prioritize and promote gender equality at home, at work, and in every facet of our lives.

About the author: Karen Holzberger is the senior vice president and general manager of Nuance’s Healthcare’s diagnostic solutions business. Karen joined Nuance in 2014 with more than 15 years of experience in the Healthcare industry. Prior to Nuance, she was the vice president and general manager of Global Radiology Workflow at GE Healthcare where she managed service, implementation, product management and development for mission critical healthcare IT software. Karen attended Stevens Institute of Technology where she earned a B.S in Mechanical Engineering.

On International Women’s Day exactly a year ago today, we were still a few days away from pandemic lockdowns and trying to comprehend the scale and nature of the changes to come.

We also did not yet appreciate how well people would work together even while working apart. Each of us had to re-think our day-to-day routines and find new solutions for the serious challenges of the pandemic. That was uniquely and powerfully true for healthcare professionals, but also applied in large and small ways to our co-workers, customers, spouses, partners, and roommates.

With that in mind, it’s fitting that the theme of the 2021 International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge. It’s meant to remind all of us to speak out about gender bias and inequality wherever we encounter it, just as International Women’s Day has called on us to do since the event first began in 1911. The progress that we have experienced in the past 110 years has come through all people rising to the challenges they faced and working together to find solutions. As the International Women’s Day website states, “From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.”

We have all been challenged and forced to change during the pandemic. Some of the changes have been difficult and seemed strange at first. But those changes also produced some unexpected benefits as we learned the advantages of work-from-home and effective remote collaboration.

You can apply the same mindset to our current battle against COVID-19 and our efforts to empower health systems and clinicians with the advanced conversational AI tools they need to care for patients. We’ve seen that specifically in the astonishing growth of telehealth, teleradiology, ambient clinical intelligence, virtual assistants and intelligent chatbots. Each of those is the result of many people working together to define the problems, devise strategies and create innovative solutions. We needed the best and brightest ideas from everyone – including our customers and partners, and our executive, engineering, sales, marketing and support teams —  to accomplish so much in such a short period of time. That’s approach also applies to our ongoing efforts to solve for the larger systemic challenges in our healthcare system using our technical and domain expertise.

A global pandemic was definitely not a challenge that anybody would have chosen. However, the choices we have made to work together to create solutions to the myriad challenges that arose have produced welcome and meaningful changes. #ChooseToChallenge should give us all hope as we battle COVID-19, work toward improving the costs and outcomes of healthcare, and, of course, strive to achieve lasting gender equality today and every day.

Karen Holzberger with her family
Karen Holzberger with her mother and daughters; 3 generations of empowered women committed to #ChooseToChallenge  

The Real View is a blog series with Karen Holzberger, Vice President and General Manager of Nuance Healthcare’s Diagnostic Division. The Real View cuts through the hype and gets to what’s real, here, and now. The blog series features interviews and insights from health IT movers and shakers – and uncovers disruptive technologies that solve challenges, optimize workflow, and increase efficiencies to improve patient care.