As healthcare providers and leaders, we can all appreciate the utility of data to drive decision-making in many domains of our work. In fact, we have learned the positive impact thoughtful analytics can have in developing a rigorous, effective health equity and inclusion strategy. The data doesn’t lie, and it will lead us toward the Promised Land!

Right….?

Well, not necessarily. In the Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Mistake Companies Make When They Use Data to Plan Diversity Efforts,” the authors explore how data-driven diversity strategies can unintentionally create additional marginalization of populations in an organization that are small in number, such as Black women.

We often celebrate wins we have made moving the needle for broad categories, such as “all women” or “all people of color.” However, there may be traumatic trends obscured in the data that impact groups traditionally underrepresented in healthcare and medical device organizations. If we don’t tease them out with intention, we could be missing out on important culture change opportunities.

How often do you look for within-group differences in your data? How does attrition data for Black women in your department or residency program compare to the overall rate for all women? What are the promotion rates for Hispanic men versus White men in your company? Are there differences? If so, I challenge you to explore why those differences exist.

You may be thinking: “But there just aren’t enough in the pipeline!” Regardless, don’t shy away from taking a deeper dive. As the authors state: “When you have small numbers, each loss, each hire, and each promotion matters. Small numbers can create uncertainty, but they don’t mean you can’t do analysis or take action.”

Enjoy the read – and the solutions provided – and drop me a message (<– this link opens a direct email to me in your email app) with your thoughts. Onward we go!

Cheers,
Dr. Taylor
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