The Intersection of CDI and Coding: Part 7: Is Joint CDI/Coding Education Beneficial?

Hosted by Libman Education
April 2018

Coding and CDI, both critically important to the success of our healthcare institutions, will continue to evolve in response to changes in technology, reimbursement, and workforce requirements. The relationship between CDIs and Coders is changing as the Revenue Cycle function requires a team approach that embraces all operational areas that impact revenue. We asked seven experts what they thought about the intersection of CDI and coding and what it means to them and their organization.

In the seventh installment of this discussion, participants are asked for their experience in joint education for CDIs and coders.  (See the series in its entirety here.)


ERAMO: Is joint education beneficial for coders and CDI specialists? If so, what topics could benefit both roles?

MISKOWITZ: I think joint education is a good idea. We provide our coders and CDI specialists with access to the same online learning modules that focus on major diagnostic categories, including conditions and applicable codes within those categories.

LAFRAMBOISE: We’ve turned all of our education into joint sessions. Coders can attend CDI sessions to learn more about clinical topics and vice versa. It’s a great opportunity to share information and collaborate. Previous topics include respiratory failure, encephalopathy, AKI, hemodynamics, shock, and sepsis. We focus on the clinical indicators, and what must be documented for accurate code assignment. We also touch on relevant guidelines and coding clinics.

Joint education is so important. When there’s a conflict between CDI and coding, it stems from a lack of understanding the other’s perspective. Joint education can help staff understand that even though we’re all reading the same documentation, CDI looks through a clinical lens while coding looks through a guidelines/conventions lens. The interpretations can be very different because of this.

TROMBLEY: We provide joint education about annual coding updates, new coding clinics, and clinical indicators for query opportunities.

YORK: I don’t recommend joint education because coding and CDI are two distinct functions. You need to tailor content accordingly.

LA CHARITE: We provide a joint two-hour educational program quarterly. The first hour is spent reviewing problematic diagnoses and procedures from a medical perspective, and the second hour is spent reviewing coding mistakes that external auditors found.



Lisa A. Eramo, MA, moderator and freelance writer




Leif Laframboise, RN, CCS, CDI professional with more than 20 years of healthcare experience who currently works for an academic medical center in the northeast



Nikki Miskowicz, RN, BSN, CCDS, manager of clinical documentation integrity at Stanford Children’s Health



Rayellen Kishbach, director of customer success at MediRegs, a division of Wolters Kluwer Law & Business



Tammy Trombley, RHIT, CDIP, CCDS, compliance manager at HCTec, a coding, auditing, and CDI service provider



Trey La Charite, MD, FACP, SFHM, CCS, CCDS, medical director of clinical documentation integrity and coding at the University of Tennessee Medical Center



Mary Beth York, CCS, CCS-P, CIC, senior associate at Barry Libman, Inc., a coding and auditing company




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About the Author

Libman Education
Libman Education Inc. is a leading provider of training for the health care workforce offering self-paced and instructor-led online courses designed and developed by leading industry experts in Health Information Management (HIM) and Medical Record Coding. Our courses are specifically designed to improve individual skills and increase the efficiencies and competencies of health care providers and institutions. At Libman Education, we understand the needs and challenges of a well-trained workforce and offer the right-mix of online education to ensure that the health care professionals are prepared to meet the challenges of the changing workplace.

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