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2021 CDI Leadership Council Research Series Synopsis: Lessons Learned from CDI Professionals

Today’s clinical documentation integrity (CDI) leaders juggle many priorities at once, balancing CDI departmental needs and bandwidth against the needs and goals of the broader organization. Add in the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospital budgets and leaders find themselves holding a very full plate of responsibilities.

It’s true that much of CDI’s work—and therefore leaders’ concerns—still centers on chart reviews and physician engagement efforts. Many departments, however, have steadily expanded into other areas such as quality reviews, alternative settings (e.g., outpatient), and denials management. As programs mature, leaders have the difficult task of tracking a department’s success and communicating that impact to organizational leadership to secure the necessary funding for staff and technology to support program expansion.

In collaboration with 3M Health Information Systems, ACDIS issued a survey in January 2021 to members of the ACDIS CDI Leadership Council. Its purpose was to gather data on the ways leaders monitor impact and communicate CDI’s value to justify program investments, how CDI departments leverage technology to advance their goals, and the ways in which CDI programs impact quality measures and show their positive return on investment.

After conducting the survey, ACDIS convened three 70-minute panel sessions with Council members to review and interpret the survey results and share proven best practices from their own organizations. Following is a summary of the findings and highlights.