Skip to main content
Home > About Us > Newsroom > Allina Health receives national recognition for health information management innovations

Allina Health receives national recognition for health information management innovations

MINNEAPOLIS 09/30/2015

Allina Health of Minneapolis is being honored for its innovative approach to health information management by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Allina was presented with AHIMA's Grace Award this week at the association's 87th Annual Convention and Exhibit in New Orleans. 

Named for AHIMA's founder Grace Whiting Myers, the AHIMA Grace Award: In Recognition of Excellence in Health Information Management honors healthcare delivery organizations that demonstrate outstanding and innovative approaches in health information management. This is the fourth year AHIMA has presented the award. 

"Allina Health is honored to receive the AHIMA Grace Award. It is recognition of how fully health information management has been integrated in our day-to-day operations and the tremendously positive impact it has made in the care we deliver to our patients across our broad array of care sites including 14 hospitals, 60 community clinics, 23 hospital based clinics, homecare, hospice, retail pharmacy, and ambulatory care centers," said Penny Wheeler, MD, Allina Health's president and CEO. "Thousands of lives have been improved through the integration of our information through the use of the information by care teams to continuously improve care and support wellness."

Susan Heichert, Allina's SVP and chief information officer accepted the award from AHIMA at its convention. 

Allina Health was recognized for exemplifying a model of "HIM Without Walls" with HIM professionals involved at a variety of program levels; chairing and participating on several enterprise-wide committees; serving as subject matter experts for electronic medical record (EMR) user groups; and providing education and training. 

Through its HIM consolidation efforts, Allina has organized an enterprise information governance program including key components such as: 

  • a centralized structure to manage the "lifecycle" of the patient record and managing the retention and disposition strategy 
  • identification of HIM as approver of medical record forms for inclusion in an EMR
  • establishment of standards for disclosure management and a designated record set
  • identification of a master scanning/indexing resource for document naming
  • development of project accountability for a provider address book
  • creation of a centralized RAC/audit team to manage outbound regulatory disclosure
  • development of enterprise consent management, legacy record management, acquisition record management, and bar code forms management

"The Allina Health Excellian™ EMR was designed to contribute to patient-centered care through a 'one patient, one record' model," said Wheeler. "During the first year of Meaningful Use Stage 2, our patient portal access increased 33 percent, patient-to-provider messaging increased 46 percent, and we extended access to Allina's EMR system to 13 non-owned community organizations who are our regional partners in care.

"Our HIM team supported the development and operation of our Family Health Manager, our Live Well® and Healthy Set Go blogs that encourage information self-sufficiency. They have been critical to our implementation of our Personal Primary Care Team approach in community clinics and they support our Kirby Puckett Eye Mobile that provides eye exams to underserved school age children throughout our service region." 

"By implementing these organizational and innovative tactics into its HIM systems, Allina shows the critical steps healthcare systems need to take to ensure health information is available to both medical professionals and patients where and when it's needed," said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. "That is at the heart of what the Grace Award means to AHIMA. We're extremely honored to recognize Allina Health with this award." 

Evaluation criteria included how organizations contribute to a patient-centered model of care, advance electronic health records and integrate HIM throughout their organization. "Every facet of our operation is touched by our HIM professionals," said Wheeler. "They are critical to our success as they lead and direct regulatory affairs, privacy and compliance work, helping us streamline workflows, improve clinical quality and operational efficiency, and reduce our total cost of care." 

About Allina Health

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 12 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, home oxygen and medical equipment and emergency medical transportation services

For more information, visit us at, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Healthy Set Go.