#WomeninHIT: Caitlin Graham and Schlaine Hutchins
February 20, 2017 | Jessica Behrendsen
One of the many great things about the HIMSS conference is the emphasis on women in health care IT (HIT) who work tirelessly every day to build, protect and manage the technology that helps patients get healthy.
In light of the Women in HIT banquet at HIMSS17 this evening, we wanted to highlight a few of CoverMyMeds’ own women in HIT: Schlaine Hutchins and Caitlin Graham. In this blog we talk to them about the excitement of their roles in the industry and the challenges they face.
CoverMyMeds: Thank you both so much for taking time to speak with us. I know this is a crazy time, and HIMSS17 is in full swing, but we greatly appreciate your insight!
Caitlin Graham: Thank you so much!
Schlaine Hutchins: Happy to chat!
CMM: Caitlin, I’ll start with you. You are a CoverMyMeds veteran. What prompted you to apply for the job?
CG: It’s more of a question of “who” than “what.” I was searching for a new opportunity and a good friend of mine worked for this really cool “startup” called CoverMyMeds. She encouraged me to apply and the rest is history! I feel very lucky every day that I was able to start with the company so early. I instantly developed a passion for our mission to help patients get the medication they need to live healthy lives, and I feel proud to be a part of the exciting growth and cool things that are happening.
CMM: You’ve done remarkable work leading our provider account team and we’re lucky every day to have you! Schlaine, you joined the company when we were at a place of truly exponential growth — what prompted you to apply?
SH: I applied to CoverMyMeds because I was ready to move out of the big, corporate world. The more I looked into CoverMyMeds the more it seemed to have the company environment I was seeking; growing, but still retaining the cool vibe of a high-growth company.
CMM: You work for our information security team; can you tell us about how you got started in the industry?
SH: Prior to CoverMyMeds I worked at JPMorgan Chase in the Third Party Information Risk Management Team. I performed security risk assessments for the Tier 1 vendors for consumer and business banking. I conducted the on-site visits at multiple vendor locations to ensure the required administrative and technology controls were in place and operating effectively. I worked in collaboration with our business operations colleagues to document our results for communication to the vendor.
I have also learned that a team made up of diverse people can be highly successful. A group of people with diverse backgrounds allows for different perspectives and new ways to solve problems. I have observed that women don’t always have the confidence in their abilities so building up that confidence is something I strongly urge. Working for a company like CoverMyMeds makes it easier.
CMM: That is impressive! We’re so glad you chose us. Caitlin, how did you make your way to health care IT?
CG: I’ve always been really passionate about health care and wellness, and my mom and both sisters also work in health care [NP, PT and LPC], so it was a natural pull. Prior to working at CoverMyMeds, I worked in development — fundraising, not engineering — for a large health system. Even though it was considered a role in health care, I didn’t interact with clinical providers on a regular basis. Moving to a position where I could make an impact to providers directly was an important element for me.
CMM: For both of you: What are some of the challenges you face being a woman working in IT? What lessons have you learned working in this industry that you think are important for other women in HIT to know in order to succeed?
CG: You know, I go back and forth on this one. Sometimes it feels like we, as a gender, are making so much progress, but there are still occasions where I feel the gap. For the most part, I haven’t been exposed to gender-related challenges at CoverMyMeds. Unfortunately, that’s not always true when working outside these walls.
I’ve experienced some challenging comments from folks in HIT. For example, I had an on-site meeting and the person called me afterward to specifically tell me that, despite their initial assumptions, I “actually did a really nice job.” As if it were a big surprise I was knowledgeable and competent. I choose to think any challenges are a result of other people being close-minded, rather than being female.
My best advice is to not let other people get in your head. Pursue something you are passionate about! Show up, do your best and you’ll prove you are smart, valuable, capable and gender does not — and should not — matter.
SH: I would say the main challenge I’ve faced being a woman working in IT is constantly having to prove my knowledge, skills and value. That being said, working at CoverMyMeds has taught me that when you stay true to who you are and know your worth, the right opportunity will come your way. In order to succeed, keep learning and growing and be open to new ideas. Advice for the next generation is to keep pushing forward. The smallest step is still a step in the right direction.
CMM: That is great advice! To wrap up, I know it’s only day one of the conference, but any general thoughts on how HIMSS is going so far?
SH: With this being my first time attending, it was a little overwhelming when I entered the convention center. However, the level of information sharing and expertise is amazing. In just the morning sessions that I’ve attended, I’ve gained more insight and ideas that I can bring back to the company to help strengthen our information security program.
SH: I’m so happy to be here! Each year it seems so much bigger than the last, and there’s always a buzz of excitement in the air. I’ve already talked to so many great folks, I’m excited to see what the rest of the week holds.
Thank you so both so much for taking time to chat, and enjoy the rest of the conference!