Imprivata SVP Carina Edwards: Women should 'go for it' in their careers

The health and IT veteran discusses how the industry needs women to embrace who they are to fuel innovation.
women in health IT

Imprivata Senior Vice President Carina Edwards Credit: Imprivata

The healthcare sector needs to lean on insightful leaders with a passion for improving access and quality. To women moving into such leadership positions, Imprivata Senior Vice President Carina Edwards offers this advice: Women should just “go for it.”

“Time and again studies show that women don’t go for promotions until they fit every single piece of the job description,” said Edwards. “I think the notion should be about being able to apply yourself and learn. You’ll be the right fit, with passion and drive.”

Edwards has done just that en route to becoming Senior Vice President at the identity and access management vendor, where she draws on her own experiences to influence the company. In fact, her entire career has been focused on ensuring clinical teams have the right information to ensure better care.

She played an important role in implementing the ambulatory data system across the U.S. Department of Defense healthcare, for instance. Another example was, while at Philips, she worked on real-time data and analyzing that information for trends that helped shape the right clinical actions.

“Early in my career, I saw the benefit of PHI information access and the importance of capturing information at the point of care,” said Edwards.

Indeed, as security risks become even greater for organizations, identity access management is a necessity. And it’s also about integrating that data into the clinical workflow, which makes it easier for the clinicians to attest to their identity, she said. 

Edwards added that Imprivata is also moving into the patient side to offer solutions that tether biometrics, better identify users and govern access to systems.

Although the goal is to give providers back time, Edwards explained that it’s also about making care better for patients. 

“I want providers to know everything about me. It’s about having the right information at the right time for better care. And it has to be simple to navigate because we’re throwing so much at them,” Edwards said. “It’s about making data actionable and making sure insights are available.”

Edwards noted that although women have made great strides in healthcare, there aren’t enough in the ranks. While this can be attributed to access, the idea is that women should be present. To this day the basic sentiment of “be present” and “sit at the table” is still applicable.

“Participate: Have your voice heard. Diversity is critical,” said Edwards. “Don’t shy away from being who you are.”

The idea is that if you think about the population, it takes all types of personalities. Diversity and different points of view produce better outcomes. On Edward’s team, she relies on both the introverted, thoughtful people, just as much as the outspoken ones.

“I need that counterbalance,” Edwards said. “Some people try to change themselves to be the right executive. But value who you are and stay true to yourself.”

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
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