Inspiration from the 2019 ACDIS National Conference

The author shares highlights from the annual conference.

From May 20-23, I was in Kissimmee, Fla. with many of you at the ACDIS annual conference. It was really affirming for so many of you to come up to me and express your appreciation for Talk-Ten-Tuesdays. It’s nice to know there is someone listening on the other side of the podcast.

I am going to spend some time over the next few weeks sharing my musings on the conference and the state of clinical documentation improvement (CDI). Kudos to Brian Murphy, the conference committee, and ACDIS personnel (especially Melissa, Wendy, and Linnea), who put together a superlative meeting. I enjoyed the food and was able to get my 13,000 steps in every day by walking around in Gaylord Palms’ air-conditioned indoor space, which was masquerading as an outdoor space.

The speakers were terrific, and the topics were top-notch and thought-provoking, but before I detail them, I must share that I believe the best part of the meeting is congregating and networking with like-minded folks. They come from disparate settings, which is part of the attraction. In addition to CDI leaders from huge regional or multi-hospital systems, and industry leaders from respected vendor companies, I spoke with a CDI specialist (CDIS) who works in a 99-bed rural hospital in Montana, plus two gals from Louisiana who still practice clinically while being CDISs!

The Advisory Board had a very productive meeting, and I loved meeting my new friend and colleague Chinedum Mogbo from Tenet Healthcare. My physician buddies were there, too – Jim Kennedy, Tim Brundage, Alvin Gore, Kristin Wallick, and Beth Wolf, to name a few. I also got to hang out with my special friends from consulting projects, Kathy, Paula, and Rose.

I want to strongly urge our listeners to consider attending your trade annual national conference. The opportunity to learn from colleagues is unparalleled. I think it is optimal if your department pays for you or subsidizes your attendance because supporting your professional growth strengthens your contribution to their program; but if they don’t, you should consider doing it anyway. It doesn’t have to be every year, but you will never regret doing it.

I was proud to present a closing keynote talk on the first day. I shared my grand universal theory of documentation – that clinical documentation should not be done in isolation but needs to address all facets of healthcare delivery, such as revenue, compliance, quality, and medicolegal, concurrently.

I would especially like to share the messages of the inspirational real keynote speakers. The kickoff keynote was by pediatrician Dr. Natalie Stavas ( ), who was 800 yards from the finish line when the first bomb went off at the Boston Marathon. She had to make a split-second decision over whether to run toward the chaos to help or retreat. She shared her life story, speaking about being a kid with ADHD whose parents encouraged her daily to run four miles around the perimeter of her farm in Nebraska to expend energy so she could focus. She was indefatigable, and the first person from Nebraska to get accepted to Harvard University for residency. Her love of running led to her working with Sole Train (, a charity that gifts high-risk inner-city youth with running shoes and personal coaching, which transforms their lives and boosts their self-esteem.

The final-day keynote was Joe Tye, CEO and Head Coach of Values Coach, Inc. He had several messages. One, you and your colleagues should take the pickle challenge, which means pledging to eliminate toxic negativity by finding and emphasizing the positive. Say you can’t find a nearby parking space, for example – don’t grouse about having to walk, be grateful that you have legs. His philosophy is that establishing a “pickle-free zone” will increase productivity, improve employee morale, and foster a more positive corporate culture.

He also asserts that no one can empower you; you must empower yourself. He has a daily program of 15-second inspirational affirmations, to be articulated four times a day. He recounted returning to a hospital recently and encountering a woman who looked familiar, but he couldn’t place her. It turns out that she practiced what he had taught them, and transformed her life by losing over 100 pounds.

He shares his steps with us at I suggest you check it out. Your hospital might find it beneficial to have him come speak and inspire your staff.

In the next few weeks, I will be sharing pointers that I picked up from sessions I attended. If you belong to ACDIS, you can access the conference materials even if you didn’t attend. I recommend checking it out.


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