Will Hospitals Hire Coders For the CDI Function?

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

Fully updated for 2021!

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.

Available online or hardcopy.  Order both and save! Learn more here.



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.

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.

4 thoughts on “Will Hospitals Hire Coders For the CDI Function?

  1. Patty Vitasinski RN CCDS - June 10, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    I truly believe the strongest CDI programs have a mix of coders and nurses and they encourage and foster exchange of knowledge. I know I am a better CDS because of the coders I learned from.

  2. Paula Scheiderich, RHIT - June 11, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    I transitioned from a 30-year plus career in inpatient coding to CDI 10 years ago. I have enjoyed it and learn something new every day. We currently have no clinical staff doing CDI but have cross-trained all the inpatient coders. I find the CDI Pocket Guide one of our most valuable resources.

  3. ann mcnally - June 19, 2020 at 10:49 am

    I am a nurse CDI and I agree, the tract should be coder, then Validator then CDI, I think the coders I work with could make a big difference in the hospitals bottom line with all their knowledge and I have learned so much from them.

  4. Timothy Taylor, RHIT, CCS - November 10, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    In the early days it was called, “Concurrent Coding.”
    inpatient coders were lively engaging medical practitioners on hospital units with queries to optain severity of illness, and specificity. CDI is and will always be part of our skill set. Open the door and let us in.