The other day, March 8th was International Women's Day. We certainly paused as the day came and went, since so many of the healthcare providers most crucial to the healthcare system are women -- across the continuum of care.
As I closed my computer for the day, though, an image caught my eye. It was a statue of a young girl, facing one of the most famous sculptures in the country -- the Wall Street bull. The statue itself was striking -- the little girl had the strength and quiet joy that remind me of my granddaughter. The location, of course, is also incredible -- to be facing down the iconic bull on the busiest corner on Wall Street. It prompted a lot of questions for me. What did the little girl symbolize? Was she stopped the Wall Street bull or engaging him? And where did the statue come from?
It's not until I dug into the story behind the statue, though, that I really appreciated what I was seeing. The sculpture was created by artist Kristen Visbal, but it turns out that the statue wasn't placed there by a rogue artist. It was commissioned by the world's third-largest asset manager, State Street Global Advisors. State Street manages some $2.5 trillion in assets and is trying to influence more companies into adding women to their boards. Not only that, as Business Insider reports, their "money manager said it would vote against boards if a company failed to take steps to increase its number of members who are women. State Street plans to send a letter to 3,500 companies on Tuesday asking the companies to act."
What intrigued me about this initiative wasn't so much the content of it. What intrigued me is that one of the largest organizations in one of the most entrenched and mercenary systems in the world -- Wall Street -- is taking a stand on an issue in a powerful, impactful, and creative way. So many providers and hospital systems in medicine say that they can't do what they know is right because of the content they work in. "It's the system," they say, "It's just how it is. But State Street is quite literally taking on the system, and they're risking real capital to take a stand on something that some feel is "idealistic" but they see as core to their business.
We found some dramatic learnings for healthcare collaboration, telemedicine, and medicine in general in this story:
Those at the top have to risk their capital for the larger good. State Street has a lot to lose, but they're willing to risk it. So many of our most established hospital systems and providers are unwilling to risk their social and financial capital now that they've arrived. But the system will never change if those with the most ability to influence the system don't act.
We need diverse teams. As Ron O’Hanley, CEO of State Street Global Advisors, said, "creating diverse boards results in better governance." The reason that State Street wants to improve gender diversity on boards is because companies with gender-diverse boards perform better. We've always said that none of us is as smart as all of us. And the team of "all of us" is smarter when we include diverse opinions, across the continuum of care. (Our addendum: those diverse teams also need a tool that supports them in working together, or the team can't function in the first place.)
What sounds idealistic is often deeply practical. Working together, doing healthcare collaboration, developing teams, and improving medicine with iClickCare may sound idealistic. And it is. But it is also deeply, powerfully practical -- the providers and teams that use iClickCare drop costs, decrease length of stay and readmissions, and dramatically improve care. They do good and do well at the same time.
Whether we're Wall Street folks or healthcare providers; doctors or nurses; men or women; a little girl or a strong bull -- we can stand tall in our strength, act on behalf of what we know is right, and feel the pride that comes from that.
To read more stories of courageous and powerful people doing telemedicine, get our quick guide:
Photo of the Fearless Girl statue by dnorton on Flickr, used under Creative Commons rights. Statue by Kristen Visbal.