Health Information Management

Associate Director’s Note: Putting Partisan Politics Aside, even in CDI

CDI Strategies, November 20, 2014

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Most of the mainstream media coverage of the recent 2014 mid-term elections focused on continued partisan politics, highlighting lack of governmental accountability and the government’s inability to agree enough on anything to address concerns facing the country.

Unfortunately at many facilities this national situation also plays out amongst the various healthcare silos. Physicians balk at transitioning to electronic health records and ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation, coders cringe at what they perceive to be CDI infringement, and CDI specialists hailing from bedside care flinch when asked to curb their clinical involvement or expand their efforts beyond CC/MCC capture.

And yet, just like effective government, effective patient care (and the soon-to-come population management of that larger global healthcare) depends on the cohesive, cooperative efforts of these three critical branches—physicians, CDI specialists, and coders—to work together in solving healthcare’s documentation woes.

Where conflict does occur, CDI specialists need to take the high-ground and identify ways in which their acumen can help solve the problems of the communities they serve. That may mean reaching out to particularly troublesome physicians or digging into data to identify ways the CDI department can help coders solve a thorny ongoing documentation problem. It may mean reaching beyond the current scope of practice to identify documentation needs related hospital acquired conditions, mortality data, or denials management.

In working together to solve one-another’s most pressing needs we can help elevate not only the content of the medical record but actual patient care provided in facilities nationwide.

For additional insight consider reviewing the 2012 ACDIS Conference presentation “How partnership with medical directors, clinical integration specialists, and coders impacts patient care,” or the 2010 ACDIS Conference presentation “The clinical/coding reconciliation process.”

The following related articles are available under the CDI Journal section of the ACDIS website:

Melissa Varnavas is the Associate Director for ACDIS. Contact her at

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