Advancing health equity, cancer care and the Triple Aim

March 03, 2023

Allina Health Cancer Institute, Health Equity and the Triple Aim 


Allina Health Cancer Institute (AHCI) embraces the Triple Aim as described by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to:

  • Provide better patient care experiences
  • Improve population health
  • Reduce per capita cost

Health equity is when everyone has an equal opportunity to be as healthy as possible. When talking about cancer, equity is when everyone has an equal opportunity to prevent cancer, find it early, and get proper treatment and follow-up after treatment is completed.  At AHCI, our approach to cancer care amplified this with our goal to reduce known health care disparities and increases health equity.   

How AHCI advances the Triple Aim through cancer screening and early detection

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Cancer screening and early detection are cornerstones for AHCI to advance the Triple Aim and health equity. Using increased surveillance, we strive to catch cancer at its earlier, most treatable stages. In doing so, we:

  • Follow cancer screening guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce (USPST)
  • Partner with primary care physicians to identify and screen eligible patients for various cancers
  • Refer patients to our genetic services model with genetic screening and personalized genetic counseling
  • Create multidisciplinary cancer care sites, such as our breast care centers
  • Help patients access whole-person care such as nutrition and dietary counseling, integrative wellness and social work services

AHCI increases health equity in cancer care

We are developing focused strategies to improve health equity among Minnesota’s underserved populations. Our goals are to improve cancer screening, detection and treatment and reduce health disparities among:

  • Black Americans: Lung cancer is more prevalent among Black Americans, especially men, than among white Americans. Black Americans also have higher mortality rates. We work closely with primary care physicians to advance lung nodule screening, especially among higher-risk populations.
  • LGBTQ+ community: AHCI promotes health equity for people in the LGBTQ+ community, including a transgender breast cancer screening program. Our breast centers were among the first in the Midwest to receive LGBTQ certification.
  • Somali: We have a dedicated outreach coordinator to increase mammography screening among our Somali patient community.
  • Hmong: Our 2023 strategy includes planned outreach to Minnesota’s Hmong population to increase their early screening rates for breast cancer and lung nodule detection. 

Improving patient access to cancer care

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Our cancer care program identifies barriers that may cause patients to delay or defer cancer screening or care. We have created resources to help eliminate or reduce those obstacles.

  • Patient care navigators: Our oncology nurse navigators assist patients in securing timely and efficient appointments.
  • Community-based cancer centers: Along with our metropolitan care sites, we have five regional care centers in several suburban communities. These centers provide comprehensive cancer care close to where our patients live.
  • Financial care navigation: We know that economics of cancer care can be a burden for some patients. We have developed a robust financial care navigation and copay assistance program. Our financial navigator helps patients access needed monetary resources.

Measuring our performance and performance improvement

AHCI has transformed our dashboard performance metrics to reflect the goals of the Triple Aim. We track and improve our population health performance benchmarks that include:

  • Cancer screening rates using USPST recommendations
  • Total cost of care for our patient population

How to refer a patient to AHCI’s oncology services

AHCI welcomes the chance to work with referring providers. Physicians within Allina Health can send referrals through Epic, our electronic medical records system.

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