Health Information Management

Associate Director’s Note: Happy Holidays from our cube to yours

CDI Strategies, December 23, 2015

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Things are pretty festive here in our little office in Danvers, Massachusetts. Our row of cubes is decked out with holiday ornaments and white twinkling lights (mine is covered in neon bows and candy canes). A table festooned with chocolate covered espresso beans, spicy almonds, a kitschy collection of evergreens nearly blocks the aisle. We had a cookie swap (the rum balls won). Just the other day, ACDIS Director Brian Murphy, CCDS Coordinator Penny Richards, ACDIS Editor Katy Rushlau, and I took ourselves out for celebratory lunch. We exchanged small gifts.

It got me thinking about what gifts you’ve added to your wish list. I’m not talking about that new car, or winter coat, or bottle of perfume you’re hoping to find hidden under the tree. Rather, what would you wish to receive from your CDI comrades or CDI program? A raise or holiday bonus, no doubt comes to mind. Put that aside for a moment and consider what “gift” might help you in your day-to-day CDI efforts.

Our friends over at asked Marianne Durling, MHA, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CPC, CIC, director of HIM and privacy officer at Granville Health System in Oxford, North Carolina, that question. She had some interesting responses.

Number two on her wish list was implementing a full CDI program. Administrators often don’t understand the real value of CDI programs so they under staff or neglect to provide adequate training for existing staff to allow the program to reach the next level of productivity and focus, Durling said.

She also wished that her staff knew “how hard she champions for them with administration” and that she could pay her team better. Interesting that a manager wishes she could give you that raise that you’re wishing for too, isn’t it?

Helping patients be better stewards of their personal health information and healthcare in general, also made Durling’s wish list, which made me wonder how many CDI professionals would wish for the same thing.

Gift-giving aside, the holidays have become a time for honoring the relationships we value most in our lives—those of family, friends, and, yes, co-workers, too. CDI professionals may be among the most intrinsically lucky people as their position actually requires them to value and work with their fellow CDI staff members, daily. Not only that, but they have an almost magical inclination to really value their co-workers in different departments, too.

It’s not always easy, the CDI day-to-day grind. There are difficult physicians to cajole, number crunchers looking for greater productivity, changing regulations to keep up with (and we’ve all certainly had our share this year!), among a host of other challenges.

I remain of the opinion, however, that working in CDI can be an incredible gift. What else could you wish for?

If your CDI department held any celebratory gatherings or offered and seasonal gifts to physicians or other staff members please shoot us a photo or an email and let us know! We love to share your wonderful ideas. Email me at

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