Mark Sugrue, RN-BC, FHIMSS, CPHIMS, is chair of theHIMSS Nursing Informatics Committee, which was founded in 2003 in response to the increased recognition of the role of the informatics nurse professional in healthcare information and management systems. This effort was intended to build a community within the HIMSS membership for those individuals with a role in nursing informatics. Its purpose is to articulate a cohesive voice for the HIMSS Nursing Informatics community and to provide domain expertise, leadership and guidance to HIMSS activities, initiatives, and collaborations with the global nursing informatics community.
Sugrue, director, health industries advisory, with PricewaterCoopers, has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. He provides strategic, operational and financial management consulting services to a wide range of healthcare organizations. He has strong expertise in the provider, payer and vendor segments. Sugrue is a registered nurse and is a board certified informatics nurse. He has been nationally recognized for his knowledge of health IT, patient safety and information privacy and security. Sugrue is a guest speaker at trade shows and professional conventions and has authored several healthcare articles. He also serves as faculty for a healthcare information technology course he developed as part of a doctorate in nursing science curriculum.
HIMSS: How did you become involved with HIMSS?
Sugrue: I first became involved with HIMSS though my local chapter. Many colleagues had mentioned the benefits, but it wasn't until I joined HIMSS that I really came to appreciate the value of being a HIMSS member. I was very fortunate to be in an area that had a strong local and regional HIMSS Chapter, which helped me see the value in joining committees and networking with colleagues I would not have otherwise met.
HIMSS: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your involvement with HIMSS?
Sugrue: The most rewarding aspect of my involvement with HIMSS has been interacting with the great people and the relationships I have developed over the years. From the staff at HIMSS, to our esteemed board of directors past and present, all the way to the casual encounters I’ve had with new colleagues at HIMSS events, the connections I’ve made and the camaraderie is very rewarding and had helped me along my career path over and over.
HIMSS: Please describe some of the milestone events in your career.
Sugrue: Last year I passed the CPHIMS certification test and became a HIMSS Fellow. I have also had the distinct opportunity of taking on the role of chair of the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Committee. Standing on the shoulders of some past chairs who have all been leaders in the field and personal role models has been a daunting and humbling experience for me. The HIMSS nursing community has grown to over 5,000 members, and this unprecedented growth is a testament to the outstanding leadership in the community and the mentoring, stewardship and commitment of its members.
HIMSS: What are your goals for the upcoming year as Nursing Informatics Committee chair?
Sugrue: Nursing in general, and nursing informatics in particular, is undergoing a major transformation. My goal as chair of the Nursing Informatics Committee is to inspire other nurses to lead and continuously reinforce the amazing value that nurses bring to all that we do.
HIMSS: Did you participate in any special activities to celebrate National Nurses’ Week?
Sugrue: Absolutely! This is a great time to celebrate the success of our profession. My celebration began with a conference hosted by the New England Nursing Informatics Consortium (NENIC) called, "Trends in Clinical Informatics: A Nursing Perspective," which was held on May 3. It’s a great opportunity to hear about all the amazing work your colleagues have been doing over the last year.
HIMSS: What are the most notable changes you’ve seen in the field of health IT over the course of your career?
Sugrue: The changes in technology have been remarkable over the course of my career. I started in the field before there was widespread access to personal computers. The greatest change, however, has been in the acceptance and adoption of health IT into clinical practice.
HIMSS: What advice would you give professionals just entering the healthcare or IT field?
Sugrue: For those just entering the field, I would first say, "Welcome, we've been waiting a long time for you!” I would then say that health IT offers the promise for a career that is rewarding in many ways. Despite the changes in technology, my advice to health IT professionals has remained unchanged since I entered the field: keep patients and families at the center of all that you do.