Note from the Associate Editorial Director: ACDIS to focus on integrity

CDI Strategies - Volume 13, Issue 35

By Melissa Varnavas

If you missed last week’s ACDIS Quarterly Membership Call, you missed some big news. The Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists is changing its name—replacing the term “improvement” with “integrity.”

During last week’s call, the ACDIS Advisory Board reviewed its newest position paper, “CDI yesterday, today, and tomorrow: Staying relevant in changing times.” As implied in the title, the paper charts a path forward for the CDI profession and helps those working in the field remain aligned with broader changes in healthcare. The paper outlines three categories of expansion which has led to the need for a new vision for CDI, including:

  1. Revenue accuracy
  2. Provider documentation quality and integrity
  3. Patient care/patient as consumer

For those who’ve worked in the field over the years, this vision may not feel completely new; capturing the patient’s complete healthcare story in the medical record has long been a singular mission for the CDI profession. However, that mission can frequently be overshadowed by competing expectations, lack of clarity in defining roles and responsibilities, and incompatible key performance indicators. The new vision presented by the board members focuses on accuracy and integrity, so that by the paper’s close the board proposed additional study into a possible name change for the organization.

In July, a survey went out to the ACDIS membership. More than 400 members responded. The responses were overwhelming in their support of the name change. Respondents indicated that including the term “integrity” in the association’s name better aligns with the CDI profession’s values, goals, and “true mission.” Others said they already made this change in their organization. Others expressed a belief that the term “integrity” is less punitive to providers.

The move corresponds with changes that have occurred within the CDI profession since ACDIS began on October 1, 2007. These include sweeping reforms to pricing and transparency through pay for performance, the growth of outpatient services and accountable care organizations, and the adoption of value-based measures that affect public-facing scorecards and reward quality over quantity, according to a forthcoming press release regarding the change.

The CDI profession has adapted to those changes and evolved in that time. Today CDI specialists review for patient safety and present on admission indicators, core measures adherence, outpatient encounters impacting affecting hierarchical condition categories, and much more.

Integrity, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: “Incorruptibility; an unimpaired condition: Soundness; the quality of state of being complete or undivided; Completeness.”

Ensuring a complete and accurate medical record reflective of clinical truth is at the core of what today’s CDI specialists do.

“We are pleased to make this important change, which ensures that our name reflects both our mission and the broader mission of CDI professionals across the nation,” said ACDIS Director Brian Murphy, in the press release.

ACDIS members agree, saying in their survey comments that:

  • “Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.”
  • “Accuracy and integrity go hand in hand because the ultimate goal of CDI (in my opinion) has always been to obtain accurate clinical documentation reflecting a true clinical picture of the patient.”
  • “The term ‘integrity’ implies honor, dedication, commitment, and credibility. Which are all the qualities a CDI professional should possess. We have grown as an industry; our title should reflect that.”
  • “Integrity in CDI has always been there, it’s just nice to own it!”

Of course, we couldn’t agree more. You’ll notice that the ACDIS administrative team has already begun adjusting to its new name and is in the process of updating its logos and various aspects of its website. This is a process we expect to take some time and appreciate your patience as we embrace our new name. In short order ACDIS will publish a new position paper explaining the rationale behind the name change with additional results and feedback from our membership survey.

If you’re an ACDIS member and missed the Quarterly Conference Call, listen to the recording under “Events & Education” à“Quarterly Calls” in the main website menu, then click on the August link. That’s where you’ll find the survey for CCDS continuing education certificate, too.  

As always, we appreciate your insight and would love to hear from you about this most recent change.

Editor’s Note: Varnavas is the Associate Editorial Director for ACDIS. Contact her at

Found in Categories: 
ACDIS Guidance, News