Health Information Management

News: AHIMA CDI Work Group busy researching best practices

CDI Strategies, July 9, 2009

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In April the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) asked for volunteers to form a CDI Work Group—and more than 150 professions responded to the call.
“It was a hail storm,” says Kathy DeVault, RHIA, CCS, manager of Professional Practice Resources for AHIMA.
DeVault chose 30 participants from across the CDI professional continuum, involving coders, nurses, and physicians from various experiential backgrounds. After meeting a few times via conference call the group decided to focus on six specific topics:
  1. CDI forms and tools
  2. CDI measurement matrix
  3. CDI program initiation and development
  4. Provider/medical staff retention
  5. CDI/physician advisor (PA) job descriptions
  6. CDI Work Group brochure
“Essentially we wanted to bring together a collection of clinical documentation professionals and identify program best practices,” says Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, CCS, CCDS, regional managing HIM director, for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Hospitals in Oakland, CA. Bryant is an ACDIS advisory board member and is the AHIMA CDI Work Group co-chair.
The concept rose from the furor of comments submitted prior to the publication of the association’s physician query practice guidelines titled “Managing an Effective Query Process,” in the October 2008 Journal of AHIMA.
Every year AHIMA polls its membership to determine areas of interest to investigate. This year CDI climbed to the top, DeVault says.
In the years before the growth of CDI programs healthcare information managers searched for a better way to obtain appropriate documentation. They wanted to develop more efficient processes than reviewing medical records after the patient already went homeor asking the treating physician about their documentation days after they’d seen the patient, she says.
“CDI represents a natural progression of where we’re seeing healthcare evolve,” says DeVault. “When thinking about CDI there’s such a diverse range of programmatic development. We’re in all stages of this process and there’s so much more we can do to make [CDI programs] even better.”
Each of the six subgroups meets individually to work out a set of specific objectives, says Bryant, who plans to have the larger team reconvene in early August to share their findings. With its research in hand, the group will turn the project back over to the AHIMA staff for compilation, editing, and possible publication.
DeVault hopes to publish the project as a “CDI Toolkit” for AHIMA members sometime either late fall or early in 2010.

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