ACDIS tips: Getting started in CDI

CDI Strategies - Volume 12, Issue 53

How does one get started in CDI? Whether you’re coming from a clinical background (e.g., nursing) or from an HIM/coding one, making the leap and knowing how to make the leap can be a major challenge. ACDIS has a number of tips and resources to help you get up and running, though.

First, do your research about the profession and try to determine if you’d actually like to step into this line of work. Some simple Googling, poking around the ACDIS website, reading CDI Strategies and the ACDIS Blog, and listening to ACDIS Radio are all great free resources to help you feel out the industry.

Next, once you know you’d like to step into the CDI world, connect with some CDI professionals in your geographic area and ask if you can shadow them or just pick their brains. If your state has an ACDIS Local Chapter, reach out to the leadership and ask if you can attend a meeting. If your facility has a CDI program, ask if you can shadow them for a day to find out about their daily work. If your facility doesn’t have a program of its own reach out to neighboring hospitals and ask the same thing.

After shadowing or speaking to a real-life CDI professional, invest in some training for yourself to help build your skillset. While most CDI programs train their new staff for three to six months through in-house mentoring, job shadowing, and classroom education, coming to your job interview with baseline knowledge of what CDI is and how the work is performed will give you a leg up.

The ACDIS CDI Apprentice program is a great way to learn and prove your competency in CDI basics. During the online-learning course, apprentices will learn foundational CDI knowledge, become familiar with the ACDIS Code of Ethics and other guiding principles, and learn how to effectively and compliantly query physicians.

Upon passing the final exam, you’ll be allowed to use the designation of ACDIS-Approved CDI Apprentice on your resume, in your biographical information, or in your email signature to set you apart from other potential applicants.

Finally, it’s time to apply for that CDI job! You’ve done your leg work and can demonstrate your capabilities to take on the role of a CDI specialist. Best of luck! ACDIS can’t wait to see how your career grows.

Editor’s note: Advice provided in this article was adapted from the September/October 2018 edition of the CDI Journal and from an ACDIS Blog article about training new CDI professionals. For more information about the CDI Apprenticeship program, click here.