Health Information Management

News: Tips and tricks to help get along with physicians

CDI Strategies, July 23, 2015

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Your relationship with the physicians you work with might be challenging from time to time. CDI specialists and physicians aren’t always on the same page.

A recent survey conducted by The American Hospital Association and Executive Health Resources (EHR) found that 98.5% of participants reported that their physicians could improve their documentation practices. Only 5% of respondents—out of over 1,000 surveyed nationwide, mostly CDI specialists— said their physicians were highly engaged, with no barriers preventing engagement in CDI.

While many CDI specialists know that it’s best to ask questions face to face, physicians just may not have the time, which can make it difficult to have important conversations.

Because of the challenges CDI specialists face, they can sometimes make missteps with physicians. The biggest mistake: getting emotional. “Keep emotions and frustrations out of interactions with physicians. It is not productive and will compromise the relationship,” says Randi Ferrare, RN, BSN, interim director of case management and social work at Providence Alaska Medical Center. 

CDI might not approach conversations the right way, and sometimes they may make assumptions that prove to be incorrect. In reality, CDI works better when the CDI specialist takes a more active role. John Zelem, MD, FACS, senior director of audit, compliance, and education at EHR suggests pushing for those face-to-face interactions for queries and case-specific education, keeping interactions brief and succinct, and making sure physicians know that there’s room for improvement across the board.

In the end, the best get-along strategy for CDI specialists is to remember you’re all on the same team. “There is one goal, getting the patient to the next level of care. Both [CDI and physicians] need to respect each other and keep in mind that we are working together and not against each other,” says Ferrare.

Editor’s Note: This article was based on Tips and tricks to help get along with physicians, originally published in Case Management Insider; and Physician documentation and engagement, originally published in the CDI Journal.



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