“When commercial automobiles became widely available in the early 20th century, they resembled horse-drawn wagons. Over time, countless iterations were refined to improve style, safety and accessibility.

These updates didn’t happen in a vacuum. Feedback, legislation, experimentation and market competition drove the changes. Diverse stakeholders and experiences helped evolve the vehicles that much of humanity now relies on for transportation.

Similarly, diverse voices in healthcare IT are critical to improving tools that boost outcomes and reduce disparities in a nation where more than 38 million people live in poverty — and where communities of color generally face more barriers to care. Age and gender balance in the workplace is important too. After all, the core purpose of health technology is not only to create more efficient and effective care delivery but also to help democratize it.

In order to fulfill this promise and create the most effective products, it is crucial that tech industry leaders, designers and facilitators represent perspectives, cultures and needs that mirror those of the people they serve.

But the field has a long way to go: A recent TechCrunch analysis found white and Asian employees still hold a clear majority at major Silicon Valley companies.

Still, I’m encouraged by research that shows diverse teams in technology organizations are more likely to be intelligent and creative, perform better and be mindful of solutions that target a wide consumer base. And efforts such as Health 2.0’s TECHquality mentoring partnership and the Culture of Health program at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are helping to develop a pipeline for minority talent.Read More

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