Health Information Management

News: ACDIS spearheads the development of a professional certification

CDI Strategies, October 2, 2008

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Almost 400 clinical documentation specialists gathered in Las Vegas, NV, on May 8-9 for the first national conference devoted to their discipline. At the same time, a group of dedicated leaders and volunteers from their membership met to begin the process of developing a professional credential for this growing profession.
The mandate was a clear one -- ACDIS members are looking for professional recognition, further definition of their competencies and skills, and a professional certification program and credential built upon both training and field experience. Over 50 highly qualified professionals came forward to volunteer for the certification board. A final group of 12 members met for the first time in May to launch the research and assemble the resources necessary to build a certification qualification and testing process that is planned to go live in 2009.
The sponsor of the Las Vegas event as well as the new certification program is the Association for Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS) ( ACDIS, launched in 2007, is already over 1,400 members strong and growing rapidly.
Association director Brian Murphy commented, “The tremendous response we’ve gotten from CDI specialists to both the association and to the demand for a high quality professional certification program has been gratifying. The certification committee has already begun work in task forces assigned to the development of core competencies and the creation of a professional code of ethics. The level of member involvement and engagement is clearly very high, and underscores the previously unmet need for this professional membership association.”

The association’s multidisciplinary membership comes from diverse backgrounds, including health information management/coding, nursing/case management, quality, and compliance. At this time, the standing certification board includes the following charter members:

  • Deborah Biskner, MBA, RHIA, CCS, clinical documentation specialist, Port Huron Hospital, MI
  • Jill Brocker, RN, MSN, CCS, director of quality services, Indiana Heart Institute, Indianapolis, IN
  • Margi Brown, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, CPC, director of coding quality and education, Community Health Systems, Brentwood, TN
  • Mary Beth Brown, RN, BSN, manager of clinical documentation improvement/utilization review, Moses Cone Health System, Greensboro, NC
  • Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, RHIT, CCS, senior director of corporate coding/HIM compliance, CHW, San Francisco, CA
  • Tamara Hicks, RN, BSN, CCS, manager, care coordination, North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Kathy Kerfoot, LPN, CPHQ, quality manager, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, Enid, OK
  • Wanda Myers, RN, BSN, MA, CDS, clinical documentation specialist coordinator/coding and case mix analysis, Medstar, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C.
  • Mary Phelps, RHIA, CCS, CTR, CIC, senior associate, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Charlotte, NC
  • Cory Price, RN, BSN, clinical documentation specialist, Alegent Health, Immanuel Medical Center, Omaha, NE
  • Suzanne Rogers, RHIA, CCS, CPHQ, director, clinical data management, University of Texas Medical Branch
  • Lynne Spryszak, RN, coordinator, clinical documentation management program, Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Elk Grove Village, IL

Select members of the board will be coming out to Marblehead, MA, on October 20-21 to begin developing examination questions.

The May Association for Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists two-day conference is an annual event, and will be returning to Las Vegas on May 14-15, 2009. ACDIS plans to offer the opportunity to take the certification examination on Saturday, May 16, at the conclusion of the conference.

More information about the development of the professional CDI specialist certification will be posted on the ACDIS website ( as the work of the certification board continues to progress.

For more information, please e-mail ACDIS director Brian Murphy at

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