Water Bearer

Lynne Thomas Gordon's father grew up during the Great Depression, and he urged his daughters to go into health care so they'd never have to worry about unemployment. One daughter became a nurse; when it was Gordon's turn, she flipped through the college catalog and whittled her choices down to medical technology or health information management. HIM won, and she's never looked back. "We have a career map that's one of a kind," she says, citing the 160 job types and 50 different work settings available to those with HIM training. She went from HIM to hospital administration, and took over the helm at AHIMA in 2011, just in time to start dealing with the deluge of data enabled by electronic health records and exacerbated by the industry switch to ICD-10 coding. "The pipes are there now, and the information is like the water that flows through the pipes," she says. "We've got to make sure it's safe, the right temperature and pressure, and keeps flowing. I'm the most excited I've ever been." HDM talked with her about her current favorite subject, data governance: how data is produced, used, secured, archived, and (eventually) deleted. In February, the organization kicked off its first-ever industry survey on data governance practices, and Gordon expects to have a couple of white papers out by the end of the year based on the results.

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