About the CCDS-O Certification

ACDIS developed the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist-Outpatient (CCDS-O) to provide a trusted baseline of competency for CDI in the outpatient setting, which includes physician practices, hospital clinics, and the emergency department, among other settings.

Click here to download the Exam Candidate's Handbook, which includes a complete content outline, candidate prerequisites, and more.

Background for developing an outpatient credential

Since 2009, ACDIS has hosted the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) certification program, which has grown to 4,500 CCDS-certified CDI professionals nationwide. The content domains of the CCDS exam pertain to acute-care inpatients.

The CCDS-O accommodates the rapid expansion of outpatient CDI, driven by the growth of Accountable Care Organizations, Medicare Advantage, and care increasingly delivered in outpatient settings.

“The CDI profession has evolved tremendously over the last 6-8 years to encompass hospital quality measures and now the outpatient setting,” said ACDIS Director Brian Murphy. “With the corresponding need to capture an accurate record of patient care in the outpatient setting, the CCDS-O will serve as a foundation for the development of baseline practice standards, and a recognizable symbol of excellence for CDI professionals.”

Formation of the CCDS-O credential committee

ACDIS assembled a 12-member CCDS-O certification committee to develop the certification prerequisites, content outline, and exam. These include CDI professionals with significant experience working in successful outpatient CDI departments around the country, including Wake Forest Baptist Health, Novant Health, Ochsner Health System, Essentia Health, and the Mayo Clinic, as well as educators, consultants, and subject matter experts who have provided outpatient CDI education and implemented programs nationwide.

Committee members include Tracy Boldt, Judy Dokken, Tamara Hicks, Fran Jurcak, James Manz, Shannon McCall, Karen Newhouser, Diana Ortiz, Laurie Prescott, Jessica Vaughn, Yvonne Whitley, and Michelle Wieczorek. To read their bios, please click here.

CCDS-O mission and core competencies

The goal of the CCDS-O program is to develop a mark of excellence for CDI professionals operating in outpatient settings, as well as provide employers with a baseline of competency for existing staff or potential hires. The certification program is also expected to spur the development of core competencies for outpatient CDI professionals and encourage the development and standardization of national best practices for outpatient CDI departments.

The CCDS-O committee has finalized the content outline for the certification exam. The core competencies were developed through a series of interviews with representatives of high-performing outpatient CDI programs in hospitals and healthcare organizations throughout the country. Click here to download the complete outline.

Additionally, the committee has finalized the prerequisites for the certification exam, as well as recommended sources of study.

Click here to download the complete prerequisites document.

Click here to download the recommended sources of study.  

The official CCDS-O Exam Study Guide from ACDIS is available for pre-order now. It's expected to publish in fall 2019. Click here to order your copy.

Candidates taking the CCDS-O exam may to use one of the following drug reference guide during the exam:

  • Nursing Drug Handbook/Lippincott’s
  • Mosby’s Nursing Drug Reference
  • Physicians’ Desk Reference (or PDR Nurse’s Drug Handbook)
  • Pearson’s Nurse’s Drug Guide
  • Saunders Nursing Drug Handbook
  • Davis’s Drug Guide

Books will be checked for additional pages or loose notes inserted or attached inside. These are not allowed to be brought into the testing room. Tabs are permitted in books as are handwritten notes previously written in the margins of books. Candidates may not write in their books during the exam.