Developing effective CDI leadership: A matter of effort and attitude

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” —Woodrow Wilson

Many CDI professionals face frustrations when it comes to recognition, understanding, and support of their roles. In a January survey deployed to ACDIS members (“Present and future of CDI”), survey takers were asked to identify challenges and opportunities for CDI efforts within their organizations.

CDI leaders can take advantage of many tools and their unique role as facilitators to transform their services and departments, delivering even greater value. By doing so, they can align the focus of their department members, meet the needs of their healthcare organization, improve their overall status, and remove the sense of powerlessness and isolation that many of the above comments demonstrate.

This transformation begins with effective leadership—which is not the same thing as management. Leadership has far less to do with authority and much more to do with setting a vision, mission, and strategy toward specific goals. Leadership pertains not only to CDI department managers or directors, but also to frontline chart reviewers without supervisory functions. This position paper includes practical examples of how leadership can apply to those tasked with day-to-day review of the health record.