A New Opportunity to Make a Difference
Monica Puga didn’t begin her Memorial career working in Information Technology. In fact, Monica started her career as an RN in the Radiology department nearly 18 years ago at Memorial Hospital West. After spending 8 years on the clinical side of the healthcare equation, she decided to make the leap into the world of IT. “I decided to make the jump and move into IT eleven years ago when meaningful use was becoming a requirement, and our offices needed to transition from paper to electronic health records. So I came into IT to support our new service line and deploy electronic health records to all of our ambulatory physician offices,” she explains. Now over a decade later, Monica is the Vice President of Population Health at Memorial Healthcare System. Her career journey has afforded a front-row seat to the evolving nature of modern healthcare.
“I’m always grateful for the opportunity to have been a clinical leader and given the opportunity to move into IT. It was one of the best professional decisions I’ve made. But my expertise allows me to bridge the gap between clinical workflows and technology while focusing on our strategic imperatives,” says Monica.” At that time, I knew very little about technology, but I embraced it and believed we needed more of it.” While her role doesn’t call for extensive technical prowess, Monica can leverage her clinical expertise, leadership abilities, and her overall understanding of how to put patients first, ensuring their safety and the safety of their families and caregivers. By aligning her IT team, she can make sure the best decisions are made for our patients and for the healthcare system.
Monica also works closely with Memorial’s IT teams to ensure they’re educated on Value-Based Care and the program’s initiatives. She states, “Technology enablement is of strategic importance to this organization. It’s a core foundation of everything we do here. Fortunately, I work with the best and brightest in South Florida.” Our team doesn’t only hire people in the technical field; we’re a dynamic group made up of professionals from various areas of health care, including nurses, clinicians, pharmacists and physical therapists. Monica says, “I feel like it’s a blessing and a privilege to be able to understand the technology side and be able to lead a program like value-based care.”
With the pace at which technology is changing the industry, it is challenging to find curious, qualified and self-motivated people to keep up with our organization’s growing demands. Monica exclaims, “What I look for in a candidate is personality. Someone who is positive, upbeat and caring. I ask them questions about how they learn because no one knows everything. I ask if they’re inquisitive. Do they ask questions? Can they research? Are they analytical? The people who answer yes to those questions or show those traits are the kind of people I look for.” As we grow as a healthcare system and adopt new technologies, these roles and others will become increasingly important, as will the select few who can do them.