Health Information Management

Associate Director's Note: CDI in the mainstream

CDI Strategies, October 15, 2015

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I’m always excited to read an article about clinical documentation improvement in the mainstream media. As a former small-town newspaper editor, I still believe that most communities learn about the larger machinations of society through the actions and reactions of their friends and neighbors within their own community.

So, when North Country Now, a Postdam, New York, community news outlet featured the CDI efforts of Massena Memorial Hospital (MMH), I felt a stitch of pride in the hospital, in the newspaper featuring the piece, and in the CDI team there.

"Documenting patient care delivery is an integral part of what our caring medical staff, nurses, and allied health professionals do every day. CDI complements the excellent care patients receive as at MMH by insuring an accurate and complete medical record," North Country Now quotes Corporate Compliance Officer, Julie Zyzik, as stating.

When it comes to dinner-party small talk, CDI professionals often struggle to find an easy sound-bite explanation to the role they play within the healthcare system. Just this past weekend I found myself engaged in the same struggle as I attempted to describe ACDIS to a fellow hiker on Mt. Manadadock, New Hampshire on a clear, crisp, fall day.

Thankfully, the staff at MMH, seems to have a firm grasp on CDI and on CDI’s importance to the facility. The article quotes not only CDI specialist Marlyn Berry—“the success of our program is based on collaboration,” she says—but the facility’s chief of medicine and its public relations director, too.

The only fly in this honey-sweet story may be the headline which claims that MMH’s CDI program’s efforts “keep bankruptcy at bay.” While that may indeed be the case in this crazy turmoil of healthcare reform, the rest of the article points to its CDI efforts beyond the traditional CC/MCC capture and inpatient focus to the “quality records-keeping, which affects not only the inpatient setting but outpatient, as well.”

That growth of CDI efforts, mirrors ACDIS’ 2015 CDI Week theme—“Branching out into Healthcare.” So, let me have one last twinge of pride in the fact that the article published on Monday, September 21, shortly following our national CDI Week celebrations.

Everyone in the CDI profession is doing amazing work to bring together the various facets of the healthcare continuum. Don’t let those dinner-party discussions dissuade you. Explain your role and tell the world about the valuable role you play. The more we spread the word, the better the general public will understand the healthcare changes going on today. 

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