The Clinical Documentation Integrity (CDI) profession is relatively new. By my unverified accounts, it began in the late 1980s, shortly after Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs) were used for hospital reimbursement. It took another 20 years to gain traction and become a professional industry, with ACDIS formally launching in 2007. In healthcare, change is constant, and like many other business functions, CDI continues to evolve.

I consider myself and Harmony Healthcare as proud members of the CDI community, and we left Indianapolis feeling grateful and a bit nostalgic. The industry’s progress is highlighted every year at the national show, and after a decade of attending, there is much we should all be proud of.

Below are my three major takeaways from ACDIS 2024.

The collective vendor community has improved dynamically

I started compiling a list of the CDI competitive landscape four years ago and categorized ACDIS exhibitors into the following categories: software, staffing, consulting/physician education, and global outsourcing, with the majority of exhibitors falling into the first two categories.

Several companies over the past decade have changed names due to high Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) activity in the space. Still, the core group of people leading and supporting the vendor community has had remarkable consistency. Undoubtedly, people stability is a driving factor behind the vendor community’s improved offerings. Ten years ago, it would have taken a few seconds to properly categorize an exhibitor. While the core business of most companies has remained consistent, the overall diversification of service offerings is vastly different. There are numerous partnerships within the vendor community that pair talent solutions companies and software together and aim to enhance the overall value to the end customer. The ultimate success of many partnerships is still to be determined, but I’d argue that even failed partnership endeavors create learning opportunities and smarter organizations.

The competition between the industry’s leading organizations throughout the vendor ecosystem has spurred innovation and new ideas to gain competitive advantages. It didn’t take 10 conferences to understand our competitors are capable and ambitious, but there is a difference in knowledge and appreciation. Thank you to all the people and organizations that have shared the vendor hall over the past decade; our inspiration to grow and continue our mission of collective improvement has never been higher

Outpatient CDI is officially mainstream

Outpatient CDI (OP CDI) has gained momentum for a few years, but this year’s conference felt like a tipping point.   It’s no longer an innovative concept. Kudos to ACDIS for being the champion of awareness. The OP Symposium helped launch national discussions across organizations with early symposiums consisting primarily of early adopters and a few professional services companies. The first symposiums felt like reunions with mostly the same organizations participating.

As a company selling services in what was a new market – we had a vested interest in the growth of OP CDI. The slow overall adoption was frustrating but turned out to be an unexpected benefit. In hindsight, it took time for the industry to define OP CDI and establish best practices for measuring and managing performance. The early symposiums were the platform for knowledge sharing which led to a significant uptick in subsequent OP CDI sessions at the national show and across the various ACDIS chapters. Awareness led to intrigue, and the number of conversations focused on OP CDI this year was remarkable.

Harmony has spent the last six years focused on building our OP CDI practice and the adoption rate has allowed us to refine our approach and be better prepared to support our customers. Our decision to get involved early will serve us well as the industry moves from awareness to action. It also helps to have leaders like Susan Carrier and Katie McLaughlin on our team who have led multiple programs and can help clients see around corners.

We look forward to supporting the industry in the next steps of this important journey.

Seeing a total eclipse is not overrated

The timing and location of the conference could not have been better. I was born and raised in Indiana and went to college a few miles away from where the conference was held. It’s always nice to have an excuse to go home, but this trip was eclipsed by something much bigger.

I was surprised to see all the eclipse promotion throughout the airport and in downtown Indy. I knew a total eclipse in this area was rare, but I didn’t anticipate that level of planning and excitement. During the eclipse, I understood why so many people gathered to witness the event. It was indescribable and something I’ll never forget. Although, it’ll be difficult for ACDIS to top that as a pre-opening ceremony event, we look forward to seeing everyone again in Orlando in 2025!

If you’re ready to tackle CDI obstacles at your organization but don’t know where to start, Harmony Healthcare is ready to solve these challenges for you. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you.



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