The New Allina Health Cancer Institute: What it means for physicians

August 25, 2022

Allina Health has provided cancer care for people throughout the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin for decades. With the launch of the Allina Health Cancer Institute (AHCI) in October 2021, we’ve integrated our cancer care under one umbrella.

Virginia Piper Cancer Institute is now the Allina Health Cancer Institute

04192022_AHCI_St Paul Cancer Center and Piper Breast Center_2

Within Allina Health, our hospitals have always had talented cancer care providers, skilled in their areas of subspecialty, who offer excellent care for their patients. Virginia Piper Cancer Institute, established in 1990, was the first step toward a systematic program to support our providers.

The new AHCI builds on the excellent reputation of the former Virginia Piper Cancer Institute by developing a cohesive system of cancer care and ancillary services. Through AHCI, we’ve instituted programmatic support to capture quality data and metrics, improve outcomes and meet the latest guidelines—all to provide leading-edge cancer care.

>AHCI has earned accreditation as an Academic Comprehensive Cancer Program from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer (CoC). This accreditation recognizes our team's dedication and commitment to providing high-quality cancer care.

Allina Health Cancer Institute: What we offer for cancer care

AHCI provides a comprehensive network for cancer screening, preventive care, diagnostics, treatment and support services. When you refer your patients to us, you can expect quality specialty care at all nine locations across the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs.

Highlights of our cancer program include:

Specialty and subspecialty cancer expertise

No matter the disease site, your patients will see an expert in that field. Our renowned experts specialize in hematologic malignancies, breast cancer and GI cancer, including esophageal, pancreatic and other complex types, just to name a few. For example, our breast-specific radiologists read mammograms, disease site-specific pathologists read and review pathology slides, dermatopathologists review skin biopsies for melanoma and other skin cancers and genitourinary pathologists review prostate biopsies.

High-quality cancer care close to home

Our cancer providers see patients at nine sites throughout the Metro area and surrounding region of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. At AHCI, our patients have access to some of the same resources available at larger cancer centers, but with greater convenience in our community locations. While not every care pathway is appropriate for every center, AHCI does it’s best to condense care to specialized centers when necessary, and yet bring it closer to home whenever possible.

Seamless care coordination with oncology nurse navigators

As you manage multiple aspects of your patients’ care, we help ensure that your patients get to the right doctor, imaging or diagnostic workup or support service. Our specialized oncology nurse navigation program, one of the largest in the country, provides individualized support. We guide patients and families through each step, starting with intake through diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and end-of-life needs.

two patient waiting in an Allina Health Cancer Institute waiting room for cancer treatment in Minnesota

Communication with referring providers

Our cancer specialists keep you involved and updated so you know what's happening with your patients. We rely on electronic medical records (EMRs) and our nurse navigators to ensure you receive all the information you need. Often, we just pick up the phone to communicate personally with you whenever the opportunity arises.

Multidisciplinary collaboration

Our cancer providers are located together, making it easy to discuss patient cases and get input from several fields of cancer medicine. Our clinics feature oncology-specific nurses and advanced practice providers including physician assistants and nurse practitioners. With 17 tumor boards, including a precision oncology tumor board, our cancer teams meet regularly for patient case discussion and consensus care.

Clinical trial opportunities

Our clinical research unit typically runs more than 100 clinical trials, from phase 1 through phase 3. Many are available through the Metro-Minnesota Community Oncology Research Consortium (MMCORC), an NCI-sponsored community-based cancer network, while others are specific to AHCI. Through our clinical trials, eligible patients have access to the latest, most advanced treatments, which are not widely available at other cancer centers.

Support services and programs

Your patients have access to ancillary services and programs that support their cancer diagnostics, treatment and survivorship. These include:

At our major Metro cancer centers, we offer access to support groups led by our oncology social workers, who are also licensed counselors. They have training to help patients cope with complex issues that come with being a cancer patient or caregiver. Social workers can also connect patients and families to local community resources such as Gilda's Club, Firefly Sisterhood, Angel Foundation and others.

Partner with Allina Health Cancer Institute: How to refer your patients

We welcome referrals from health care providers across the Twin Cities, western Wisconsin and beyond. Here’s how you can refer a patient to AHCI for cancer care:

Providers within Allina Health can place a consult order within Epic.

Providers from outside Allina Health can refer patients by calling our nearest cancer center: