CDIS Financial Impact (ROI information)

My Director is asking for input for a letter requesting to hire more CDIS for our department. She is specifically asking for what financial impact a CDIS has for an organization. Our current computer system does not allow me to measure the financial impact of each query, so this is not information I can easily obtain. Does anyone know of any studies or resources that can help with finding out the average financial return on investment for a full time CDIS? Thanks, Rhonda


  • It is ‘complicated’.  There is a lot of marketing published about average financial gains, but there are so many factors in the process so that I do not believe you can ‘extrapolate’ any reported data.  

    It IS tedious, but I’d suggest you audit a period of CDI work, taking into account the financial impact for each query - keeping in mind many do not change the impact for any individual case.   

    Basically, you would need to compute any $$ impact for CDI activities when your staff reconcile after coding.  You also need to take ‘credit’ not only for CDI queries, but also any amended coding that is a product of your team.

    It may be that your coding department has tools that actually do compute the exact financial impact, and I’d be surprised if they did not.  Most HIM departments have the required financial tables embedded into the grouper for this express purpose.

    There is a learning curve, and a steep one, if you have never done this.

    One option might be to pay an experienced coder to assist with the computations.   This would call for account by account reconciliation.  I actually did perform reconciliation for each case when we started our team, and quite truly, this is the only accurate way to perform the is a ‘grind’.

    Alternatively, you could attempt to measure the CMI over time, but it is influenced by many factors independent of coding or CDI efforts.

    Paul Evans, RHIA, CCDS
  • I would recommend a full gap analysis on your program, where you can get to the nitty gritty of the numbers. What size hospital and how many CDIs do you have currently? ACDIS has some great resources on how to estimate staffing needs. We currently staff at 1 CDI for 1900 admissions.
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