2019 CDI Week Industry Overview Survey

Now more than a decade removed from CDI programs’ widespread adoption, CDI professionals have an impact on nearly all aspects of healthcare—from reimbursement, to quality reporting, to denials prevention and appeal writing, to patient care. That’s what the 2019 CDI Week theme celebrates—“CDI Superheroes: The Heroes Hospitals Deserve.” This year’s Industry Overview Survey supports that claim to superhero-hood, showing just how much potential good CDI can bring to an organization.

“There’s so much value in reviewing the survey results because it gives you a better sense of what’s going on in the industry as a whole,” says Chinedum Mogbo, MBBS, MsHIM, RHIA, CDIP, CCDS, CCS, CDI manager at Tenet Healthcare in Dallas, a member of the ACDIS Advisory Board, and this year’s CDI Week Advisor. “You’re able to see trends in the industry and see how we can be better CDI professionals. […] It gives us ideas on how to create policies to stop negative outcomes and encourage good trends.”

Each year, ACDIS asks its members and the broader CDI community to weigh in on the state of the CDI profession. This year’s survey garnered 639 responses, up slightly from last year’s 605. Although this report will not discuss every survey question in detail, readers can examine all the responses beginning on p. 10.

The respondents represented a number of positions and titles, with CDI specialists the most common at 48.67%, followed by CDI managers at 13.30%, CDI directors at 7.82%, and CDI leads at 5.63%. (See Figure 1.) Most (83.88%) of the respondents work in traditional, short-term acute care facilities. (See Figure 2.)

The largest portion of respondents (16.59%) work in organizations with 201–300 beds, followed by those who work at organizations with 101-200 beds (12.68%), those with 301–400 beds (11.27%), those with more than 1,000 beds (9.39%), and those with 401–500 beds (9.08%). (See Figure 3.) This year’s survey also asked those who work at health systems about the size of their organization, finding that most (41.46%) work for health systems with more than 1,000 beds. (See Figure 4.)

Like in years past, this year’s respondents spanned several experience levels. The best represented group was CDI professionals with between three and five years of experience in the profession (29.11%), followed closely by those with more than 10 years of experience (26.13%) and those with six to eight years of experience (21.91%). Those with zero to two years of experience made up 13.46% of respondents, followed by those with nine to 10 years’ experience (9.39%). (See Figure 5.)

When it comes to credentialing, the majority of respondents (71.83%) hold an RN license. The next most common credential was the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) (64.01%), followed by the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) credential (18%). It’s important to note that many CDI specialists hold more than one credential. (See Figure 6.)

Continuing a trend begun in prior years, this year’s survey showed CDI programs’ further diversification into areas of healthcare beyond traditional inpatient acute care, such as outpatient services and denials management.