June 05, 2017 | | Comments 0
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Note from Associate Editorial Director: Growing a CDI garden

CDI garden

Grow your CDI garden this summer

By Melissa Varnavas

Longstanding ACDIS members know I’m not one to shy away from a good extended metaphor. Today, is June 1. Spring has given up her blooms. The petals have fallen away from the tulips and the daffodil heads have dropped or been plucked by those dedicated gardeners among us.

While we haven’t quite reached true summer yet, the gardens are evolving. In my yard, bridal wreath spirea creates a wall of white blooms. My niece likes to shake the branches over us creating a fluttering of petals that catch in our hair as we run through.

The point of the metaphor is this—just like our gardens, clinical documentation improvement efforts continue to evolve as do the individuals who claim such efforts as their professional calling.

To be sure, when ACDIS began 10 years ago, each CDI professional and each program, too, perhaps, saw itself uniquely. A crocus. A primrose. A hyacinth. A lily of the valley. Over that time, however, CDI efforts meshed. Over that time, the roots of those perennials spread. The bulbs multiplied. And now we have a garden that is dense with experience and flourishing in its ability to help improve clinical documentation not just in the spring, not just for financial outcomes, not just to help coders and physicians speak the same language, but as the seasons turn to assist patients and the hospitals and physicians which serve them in a wide variety of ways. You know these flowers well as they begin to bloom—quality, medical necessity, outcomes measures, patient safety indicators…

As the ACDIS Advisory Board wrote in a Position Paper, “Developing effective CDI leadership: A matter of effort and attitude,” released last week, it’s up to each and every individual working in the field—be that person a manager of a multi-disciplinary team of five or 50, be that person the sole CDI professional in a rural facility, be that person brand new to the role—to take ownership of their career and their program and become an effective leader, become the gardener of their profession.

You’ll need to water, especially in the height of summer. You’ll need to invest in your own education. You’ll need to reach out and network with others in the field. You’ll need to weed and fertilize and stake and tie and organize. You’ll need to take in information and seek out the primary sources to verify the information you’ve learned.

And when you step back and see the colors and the fruits of your labor you’ll know the role you play in brining such cohesiveness forth and role that each flower also plays.

Editor’s Note: Varnavas is the Associate Editorial Director for ACDIS, overseeing its various publications and website content. Contact her at mvarnavas@acdis.org.

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Filed Under: ACDISCDI ProfessionCDI TalkClinical Documentation ImprovementGrowing your program

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Melissa Varnavas About the Author: Melissa Varnavas, is the Associate Director of the Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS). ACDIS is a community in which CDI professionals share the latest tested tips, tools, and strategies to implement successful CDI programs and achieve professional growth. With more than 5,000 members, its mission is to bring CDI specialists together. To learn more about ACDIS, go to www.acdis.org or call HCPro customer service at 800-650-6787.

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