Rethinking inpatient CDI

Maximizing value in the emerging era of risk-based payment

Attaining a FM Advantage

Advisory Board research estimates that 81% of hospitals have an inpatient clinical documentation improvement (CDI) program. Despite wide-scale adoption of CDI programs, their performance varies, and many organizations report subpar outcomes. A strong inpatient CDI program can pay for itself, yet common pitfalls leave some hospitals struggling to reap the benefits. This report details the four characteristics of best-in-class programs.

The conventional wisdom

Clinical documentation improvement (CDI) programs are a vital component of the revenue cycle for hospitals and health systems. Typically, these programs consist of nurse specialists who review patient charts for completeness and accuracy. Although CDI can exist in both the inpatient and outpatient setting, inpatient CDI programs are the most common.

Unfortunately, many programs haven’t mastered foundational documentation functions and struggle to meet their goals. Despite the popularity of CDI programs, most organizations unintentionally limit program impact by focusing their CDI efforts on either financial or quality goals, not recognizing the benefit of an approach that prioritizes both.

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