by Richard D. Pinson, MD, FACP, CCS
While not all hospitals allow coders to assume the CDI role, increasing numbers are especially now as some CDI staff are being redeployed back to patient care in response to COVID-19. Those hospitals that have assembled integrated CDI teams of clinical and non-clinical staff benefit from the skill set and unique perspective of each.
If you are a coding professional willing to acquire deeper clinical knowledge and hone your querying skills, you can open the door to the CDI profession from which coders have hitherto been largely excluded. By demonstrating your critical value to the CDI function you can seize a wonderful opportunity to enhance your career options. Don’t let this chance pass you by.
In our experience we have found that a motivated, clinically informed coding professional can provide significant value in the CDIS role. Some of the best CDI professionals we have ever trained came from an HIM/coding background.
Coders have an edge with their expertise in the coding systems and guidelines but may benefit from more in-depth and detailed clinical knowledge about certain, common medical conditions. While nurses may possess much of the necessary clinical knowledge, they typically have little coding expertise. Each has her own strengths and challenges.
By combining the strengths of team members from both clinical and nonclinical backgrounds, each able to contribute her skills in a meaningful way, the CDI function can perform more efficiently and effectively. Communication and collaboration are key.
Pinson & Tang CDI Pocket Guide
Libman Education offers many resources for coding and documentation specialists. Perhaps the most popular is the Pinson & Tang CDI Pocket Guide recognized by CDI professionals for over thirteen years as their “CDI Bible!”
The Pinson & Tang CDI Pocket Guide provides specific standardized query templates for the most common medical conditions as well as instruction on how to modify the template to fit the particular circumstances of the case in question.
A set of free standardized query templates is available for free on the Pinson and Tang website. Select “Resource” tab and search “Queries.”
About the Author
Dr. Richard Pinson, MD, FACP, CCS
Dr. Richard Pinson is a physician, educator, administrator, and healthcare consultant. He practiced Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine in Tennessee for over 20 years having board certification in both. Dr. Pinson is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and former Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Vanderbilt, and has assisted hospitals as a physician consultant for the past ten years. Dr. Pinson’s personal understanding of the mindset of both doctors and managers allows him a unique vantage point from which to promote cooperation between physicians, hospital staff, and administrators toward achieving beneficial and practical changes.