Boston strong: Climbing the U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals rankings with CDI Director Deb Jones

Since taking on the CDI director role at Brigham at Women’s Hospital in October 2017, Deb Jones has made big changes with big impact. These include:


  • A deep focus on risk adjustment and mortality reviews. Boston is an incredibly competitive healthcare environment with 25 hospitals operating within the city. Patients have a choice of where to shop for care, which makes rankings in the likes of U.S. News and World Report absolutely critical for survival. In a 2022, Brigham made the honor roll by grabbing the no. 14 spot in the country on that list.


  • Doubling the number of her staff, to 20 CDI professionals between Brigham and Women’s and affiliated Faulkner Hospital. And then retaining them… forever. Jones has yet to lose a single staff member (two that did leave have since returned).


  • Getting after it in general, with provider education, new CDI software, and an engaged team that issues 2,000 queries a month.


Deb is a success (in my opinion) because of her positive, engaged, and friendly managerial style, coupled with her close connections to the c-suite, including the CFO, and her ability to tell the right story with the right metrics. If you’re a leader in this space, or an aspiring HIM or CDI professional looking to learn from someone with a track record of success, she’s worth listening to.


We get into all of this—risk adjustment, metrics and reporting strategies, staff retention, leadership, and relationship building—on the latest episode of Off the Record. 


We also use the word “synergy” a bit too much for either of our liking. But, we recover with some good talk about the Boston restaurant scene, the importance of happy hours (yes, I invited myself on air—awkward), and music too, including her son’s music career after graduating from the Berklee College of Music.


Listen to the episode here: 




After four podcasts featuring New England organizations to start 2023—two each in New York and Boston—this is the official last stop on my hometown tour, with the next couple OTR guests hailing from elsewhere in the country.


I have been alluding to some changes to the show, and those are coming. I’m going to keep doing the long-form interviews with guests about their careers, but will be seasoning with:


  • Shorter (30 minute) interviews
  • Non-traditional guests that still support or serve the mid-revenue cycle in some capacity
  • Topic-driven rather than purely guest driven programs


As always, I would love your feedback. Every episode has had more than 100 listeners. If you are one of them hit me up here or with a direct message on what you like, don’t like, or recommended guests or topics.

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