By Chris Dimick
IMMEDIATELY AFTER LANDING her first HIM job in 1978,
Lynne Thomas Gordon became a member of AHIMA. Now,
after a 30-year career that has ranged from HIM intern to
hospital C-suite administrator, Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA,
FACHE, feels her entire career has led to her recent appointment as AHIMA CEO.
“It is like every job that I have had has been preparing me
for this role,” she says.
Thomas Gordon has seen HIM from every level. She knows
how important HIM’s work is to daily hospital life, the trials
of implementing an EHR, what it takes to teach students the
industry, and how HIM work is viewed from the C-suite. She
believes her diverse healthcare career will provide her the
knowledge to steadily lead the association into this new, uncharted world of modern HIM.
She has several ideas regarding how AHIMA should play
a role in HIM’s success. This includes AHIMA continuing to
offer HIM advocacy, pertinent education, lifelong learning
opportunities, thought leadership, and industry-leading credentialing.
Practicality, Then Passion
The practicality of HIM was what first attracted Thomas Gordon to the industry. That would soon transition into a passion
for the work. It started with some fatherly advice received as
Thomas Gordon’s father was an engineer at DuPont for
35 years who would routinely see young graduates come
to the company asking for jobs. Typically, they would be
turned away. Offering advice to his three daughters on how
to avoid similar disappointment, he suggested they work in
the healthcare field.
“He said, ‘You guys can do whatever you want, but you
really need to go into healthcare,’” she says. “‘You know if
there is a war, you are going to have a job; if there is a de-
pression, you will have a job.’ Of course, he is a Depression
Dad. I said, ‘Okay, okay.’”
Leafing through a catalog from the Medical College of
Georgia, Thomas Gordon paused when she saw the career
listing for medical records. After visiting two hospital medi-
cal records departments and grilling the directors on their
day-to-day work and job satisfaction, Thomas Gordon was
convinced to enroll in HIM.
She went in knowing it would be a secure job. However,
along the way she learned it would be a career she not only
loves but one that would give her access to the top positions