How to Hire Top Clinical Documentation Specialists (CDS)


The deadline to achieve ICD-10 compliance is set for October first, barring any delays. That means having top clinical documentation specialists on staff will soon become more important than ever. If you have holes in your workforce, or simply need to recruit the top talent that can elevate the rest of your staff, try using these strategies:

Cast a Wide Net

As you look for the best available tale,t you shouldn’t put any artificial constraints on your search. Start by looking internally. You may have a coder, HIM professional, or case manager in your organization who already has an established rapport with physicians/nurses and can make an impact faster. If an internal candidate is not a viable option, distribute your job listing as widely as possible. Use conventional job boards, particularly the one run by the ACDIS, get active on social media, use LinkedIn, contact local universities, and consider taking on a recruiting partner. No option should be ignored.

Look at More than Just Credentials

You’re looking for the top talent, separating the great from the good means you need to look at more than just credentials. The skills candidates possess are of course important, and should be scrutinized and tested closely, but soft skills need to be evaluated too. The ideal CDI candidate will need to have excellent communication skills and feel particularly comfortable working with physicians. Leadership skills will be just as important, as will the persistence to see changes through. Lastly, look for a candidate who has the initiative to really learn your organization, and the well-roundedness to perform the myriad duties of a CDS.

Interview Strategically

The person who conducts the candidate interview should take an open-ended approach. This strategy, rather than a series of more precise questions, reveals a lot about the candidate’s personality and character, both traits that should figure into your evaluation. Focus on broad questions like “Tell me why you’re a good leader?” or “How do you go about motivating others?”.  You can gather valuable information from the candidate, and if you read into it carefully, you’ll be able to tell a lot about whether that candidate is top talent.

The ICD-10 deadline is quickly approaching. That doesn’t give you much time to start recruiting. If you would like to speed up the process and connect with only the best candidates, rely on the resources of MedPartners.

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