AHIMA Names UWHC First Grace Award Recipient

The University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) has been selected as the winner of the first AHIMA Grace Award. The award was presented to UWHC leadership during Tuesday’s convention general session.

Named for AHIMA founder Grace Whiting Myers, the “AHIMA Grace Award: In Recognition of Excellence in Health Information Management” honors healthcare delivery organizations that demonstrate effective and innovative approaches in using health information to deliver high quality healthcare.

Donna Katen-Bahensky, UWHC’s president and CEO, said the award is an honor for the 7,600-employee organization to receive. “We’re proud of the innovative approach we take to health information and are honored to be recognized by AHIMA with this new Grace Award,” Katen-Bahensky says. “The ultimate winners here are our patients and medical staff who are assured that their information is secure, accurate, and available when and where they need it.”

UWHC first began their electronic health record (EHR) journey in the 1990s by interfacing labs, radiology, and transcribed documents. In 2008 they took the next step in utilizing health information, adopting the motto, “great information, great care” and uploading all documentation from the previous electronic system into a new EHR that spanned inpatient and outpatient areas.

Today at UWHC, all documentation is captured electronically either through direct data entry, interfacing from ancillary systems, or scanning, including documentation from outside facilities. This provides a totally electronic version of a patient’s health record.

UWHC moved forward with a complete EHR in 2010 when the creation of new paper records was halted. Today only old paper records that are specially requested are maintained or distributed.

To avoid becoming stagnant in the ever-changing healthcare industry, UWHC recently began implementing several innovations that included an automated electronic auditing of 100 percent of all scanned documents to enhance patient identity. Palm vein scanning technology is used to quickly and accurately identify patients at clinic registration and hospital admission who may be uncommunicative or unconscious.

Privacy and security is foremost on the minds of many staff members at UWHC. The HIM department staff is out amongst the hospital staff, serving as privacy and security trainers and ensuring all staff, residents, and physicians understand its importance. UWHC has also developed a joint Privacy/Security Breach Investigation team (P/SBI) where the HIM and Compliance departments evaluate audits, discuss areas that need more education, and work toward delivering a consistent, clear message to all staff and patients.

 

**Follow the news and get insights from AHIMA’s 84th annual Convention and Exhibit being held October 1-3 in Chicago, IL. New articles covering the event will be posted daily. Look for special e-Alert announcements October 1-3 linking you to a full online edition of AHIMA Today, the on-site convention newspaper.

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