Health Information Management

Associate Director's Note: Shake off the holiday doldrums

CDI Strategies, December 10, 2015

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I admit to being in a bit of a post-Thanksgiving malaise—feeling overstuffed and lethargic. I’m totally content to curl up on the couch and continue indulging on all the amazingly decadent dishes offered this time of the year.

Maybe you’re feeling this way, too. It’s hard to feel motivated personally and professionally this time of the year. All those New Year’s resolutions can wait patiently until the flip of the calendar. All those challenges of the past year, already seem to be fading out of sight.

Nevertheless, now might be the perfect time to pull back the covers and take another look at your professional achievements and start making incremental changes that put you in the perfect position to start the New Year off right.

For example, maybe you and your CDI program have spent a large amount of effort on ICD-10-CM/PCS preparations over the past year. Now that implementation is in full swing, take a look at those efforts to identify any fresh opportunities. Also consider expanding those efforts by working with the denials team to see what’s been happening there and identify any trends CDI efforts may be able to help improve.

When ICD-10-CM/PCS seems to be running smoothly, consider examining CDI efforts related to quality measures and other concerns. A recent report from HHS shows a dramatic decrease in hospital acquired conditions (HAC) over the past several years. If your facility isn’t reviewing records to capture conditions present on admission and obtain clarification related to HAC, take some time in the coming weeks to dig into your facility data to see if opportunities exist and craft a plan to expand review efforts.

Remember, too, that the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist credential exam will expand in 2016 to include questions about CDI programs’ role in quality efforts. Take some time now to learn a little bit more about these areas and to prepare to take the next step in your career.

Shake off your malaise, by taking a fresh and honest look at your own CDI efforts over the past year, too. Many CDI professionals lament the lack of educational compensation or funding for training. Yet, taking personal responsibility for one’s own career may mean setting aside your own resources to obtain it. The CDI specialist who stays informed about trends can have meaningful conversations with CDI team leaders about ongoing efforts. Such consideration will no doubt come to bear as managers seek able-minded individuals to tackle new projects.

While all those Thanksgiving leftovers are amazing, and all those holiday treats are delicious, it’s so much more fun to get off the couch and envision new recipes for the future. Let’s get cooking.  

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