CDI community meeting: Refreshing the career matrix for CDI specialists

CDI community meeting: Refreshing the career matrix for CDI specialists

At the last CDI community meeting held on December 10, 2021, the community discussed common models and language for CDI-related roles in the matrix and pathways to elevating the profession’s value.

Community facilitator, Rita Parmar, began the meeting with a land recognition statement, shared a recap of the previous meeting, and highlighted resources for further reading.

Of those on the call, 29% were CDI specialists, 64% were in other roles, and one person was a quality improvement and decision support specialist. Roles in the ‘Another’ category included the following: coding analytics and transcriptions, data quality analyst, manager of health information, manager of data collection, director of data quality, amongst others.

Another poll revealed that 38% of the session participants had between one and five years of experience in the field, while 31% had less than a year of experience. This stresses the need for a community in which CDI specialists can share ideas, support one another, and expand the scope of the profession.

Rita led the group to discuss roles within the industry with two questions:

  • What are some new and emerging roles in our industry?
  • What are some roles at your organization, and what are some key functions at your organization regarding CDI? 

Some of the new roles mentioned included the following: data quality specialist, nurse auditor (or CDI specialist to support the data quality role), classification and terminology informaticist, and a CDI specialist with a focus on inpatient coding. This discussion underscored the need for full-time CDI specialists, funding for CDI departments, and improvements for outpatient coding.

Participants also discussed the name change of the group’s US counterpart—Clinical Documentation Integrity Specialists. One participant shared that although she had thought the term “improvement” was a negative reflection on the efforts of physicians, a physician found the term “integrity” offensive. In response, a participant suggested conducting polls to determine physicians’ opinions on the term “improvement” and the role of CDI specialists. This suggestion was considered as another way to secure stakeholder buy-in. Other suggestions included focusing on quality and not documentation and more positive terms like “support.”

Next, the group discussed the CHIMA career matrix; half of the participants had heard of it, and half had not. Members on the call thought the matrix helped hiring managers looking to create job roles and potential members unsure of the industry’s requirements. Another participant suggested extending the value proposition of CDI specialists to organizations and then developing roles based on this.

Someone on the call wondered how coders could advance their careers with so few CDI specialists and the field’s newness in Canada. In answer to this, participants suggested the inclusion of CDI in HIM curriculums and the need for education in facilities to ensure that directors understand the value of CDI. Participants shared personal stories of their ability to impart the profession’s value to younger students in HIM programs.

This reiterated the importance of education and the need for CDI specialists to tell their own stories. Following this, Rita requested volunteers for a working group to develop the career matrix for CDI professionals. Half of those on the call agreed to join the group.


ACDIS article on CDI in Canada

Read the previous CDI community update

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