Susan Matney


Susan Matney is the daughter of Ralph and Merna Ray and the late Gerald Storey. She began working as a nurse’s aid when she was 16. In 1978, during her senior year in high school, she began working as a nurse’s aid at Montrose Memorial Hospital. (MMH) Also in June of that same year, she married Fred Matney, one month out of high school.

Susan obtained her LPN from Delta-Montrose Votech in 1981. She continued working at MMH while she had three children, David, Stephen and Sarah. After Sarah was born, Susan decided she wanted to become and RN and commuted to Mesa College where she obtained her associates degree in nursing in 1989.

After graduation, they moved their family to Moab where Susan was the Director of Nursing for five years. During that time, she commuted to Ogden for two years every other weekend (a 5 hour drive one way) to obtain her bachelors in nursing from the University of Phoenix.

In 1993, they moved north of Salt Lake City so Fred could go to college. Susan became the Director of Women’s services for Lakeview Hospital. After Fred completed his degree, Susan pursued a master’s degree in nursing informatics at the University of Utah and graduated in 1997.

Susan took a job at Intermountain Healthcare where she led the team that created clinical terminology for the electronic health records. The terminology was used for both inpatient and outpatient in 23 hospitals and over 400 clinics. She has been involved in the creation and implementation of the nursing terminologies, information models and standards.

It was at this time that Susan started working with multiple standards development organizations in order to ensure that nursing data is standardized along with the medical data within the patient’s record..

Here is what her nominator, Lydia Storey Lopez , and colleague from the University of Kansas, Judy Warren, said about her in her nomination:

“Ms. Matney is a pioneer in the field of Nursing Informatics. This field combines computer programming with nursing to further the essential undertaking of electronically merging health records. She is currently employed by The University of Utah as a Senior Content Engineer in the Office of Associate Vice President of Health Sciences for IT.

Ms. Matney has been pivotal in ensuring a ‘Nursing Voice’ in healthcare informatics standards and multidisciplinary terminology development which have been adopted by the US government as HIPAA and Meaningful Use standards, thus ensuring nursing data will appear in Electronic Health Records. Ms. Matney’s career far exceeds that of scholar and nurse. It is the quintessential example of blending practice and scholarship and then adding international standards development expertise. She provides strong leadership in several areas. First, she provided the vision and guidance to integrate nursing assessment scales into LOINC (Logical Observation Identifiers Names & Codes). She recognized that this terminology, originating from the need to communicate clinical laboratory data, could use the same logical constructs to communicate assessment scales. This solved the problem of needing to encode this information for storage, retrieval, and exchange in and between EHRs while maintaining the reliability and validity of the scale.

Ms. Matney then led the effort to gain American Nurses Association recognition for LOINC, the third multidisciplinary terminology to receive such recognition.

Second, recognizing the need to harmonize the use of LOINC with another leading multidisciplinary terminology, SNOMED CT, Ms. Matney led efforts to create collaboration between the two to ensure that each met the needs of nursing data, information, and knowledge. As a result, she was appointed by the National Library of Medicine to serve on the Quality Assurance Committee of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization, the developer of SNOMED CT. Furthermore, the NLM now consults with her on nursing terminology needs and strategies.

Third, Ms. Matney has served as a co-chair of HL7’s Patient Care Technical Committee. Under her guidance electronic messaging standards, supporting the nursing view of the data, have been developed for patient condition, allergy and plan of care. The ability to message nursing information between information systems is enormous and will ensure that our data is there when we need it. I have known Ms. Matney for twelve years—her expertise and commitment to nursing exceeds expectations, making her a valuable colleague with which it is a pleasure to work!”

Susan is now pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of Utah and is sorry she is unable to receive this award in person. She would like to thank the Montrose Education foundation for selecting her as a Distinguished Alumnus. Susan stated, “It is with humility and honor that I accept this award. I have always strived to do my best without expectation of being honored or gaining notoriety. My only goal has been quality care of patients and the advancement of nursing practice. Thank-you very much for this prestigious award.”