Mark C. Suchman Ph.D., J.D.

Department of Sociology
Brown University
Email: Discipline: Sociology, Law Expertise: Organization of Care, Technology

Investigator Award
Mapping the Organizational, Professional and Legal Challenges of New Information Technologies
Award Year: 2002 Mark C. Suchman, J.D., Ph.D., is interested in the many challenges American hospitals face as they introduce new clinical information technologies. His Investigator Award project, Mapping the Organizational, Professional, and Legal Challenges of New Information Technologies in Healthcare, examines patterns of technology adoption in hospitals and explores how the use of clinical information systems affects and is affected by shifting societal laws, rules, and norms. The investigation focuses on the role of new patient privacy and electronic data interchange regulations adopted by the federal government under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In assessing the impact of these federal guidelines, Dr. Suchman will also explore the related effects of internal hospital governance structures and of external pressures from accrediting bodies, professional associations, and advocacy groups. The findings should inform policymaking in this rapidly developing field by mapping information technology governance and identifying key points of strength and vulnerability.


Mark C. Suchman is a professor of sociology at Brown University. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School (1989) and a Ph.D. in sociology from Stanford University (1994). His primary research interests center on the legal environments of organizational activity in general, and on the legal environments of entrepreneurship and technological change in particular. His Investigator Award project focuses on the many challenges that American hospitals face, as they apply new information technologies to their clinical operations. In addition to his Investigator Award research, Professor Suchman is currently completing a book on the role of law firms in Silicon Valley. He has also written on organizational legitimacy, on the relationship between economic and sociological explanations of legal phenomena, on the impact of changing professional structures on corporate litigation ethics, on the organizational "internalization" of law, and on social science approaches to the study of contracts. Previous to his appointment at Brown, Professor Suchman was professor of sociology and law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 1999 to 2001, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at Yale University, and in 2002-3 he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, California. He is a member of the American Sociological Association, the Law and Society Association, and the Academy of Management, and his research has received funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the American Bar Foundation, as well as from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. At the University of Wisconsin, he frequently chairs the Sociology Department's Deviance, Law and Social Control faculty, and he serves on steering committees for the Institute for Legal Studies, the Legal Studies Program, and the Industrial Relations Research Institute.