Sarah Shaver Laird, RHIA,
CCS, is an innovator in the
field of remote coding internships. Through her vision, she
has removed the geographical
barriers for students pursuing
coding internship experiences
while in educational programs.
Laird is currently the senior
director of corporate coding with Novant Health in Winston-Salem, NC. When she started the project, she was told that it
was not possible to create remote coding opportunities due
to concerns about security with the electronic health record.
This did not stop her pursuit, however, of making this goal become a reality. As a great innovator, she persisted and rolled
out the remote coding program to three CAHIIM-accredited
associate’s degree programs in North Carolina and has had
great success. Laird will expand this opportunity to additional CAHIIM-accredited programs in North Carolina (and
additional states in the future) and allow her team members
who are alumni of the programs to assist with the internships.
Success as an innovator has not been rare for Laird.
Throughout her years of working with Novant Health, she
has had many great accomplishments. She developed a Coding Academy to train newly credentialed coding professionals without experience into qualified inpatient and outpatient
surgery coding professionals. Laird developed the company’s
first coding career ladder, to ensure career growth for her
team members. Years before her organization’s EHR install,
she led teams that implemented a scanning workflow that
scanned all medical records after discharge in order to create a
remote work environment for the coding staff. This provided
efficiency for the coding team members and additional clinical team members to review the medical record from their
location instead of the HIM department only. Laird and her
team successfully transitioned 13 acute care hospitals to an
EHR system, and together they were able to return to normal
coding production metrics within five business days after
each EHR go-live. Laird achieved all these outcomes while
maintaining low turnover rates each year, and achieving
Press Ganey Tier 1 Employee Engagement scores for the past
t wo years (2015 and 2016) the department was surveyed.
AHIMA congratulates Laird as the recipient of the 2017 Innovation Triumph Award for her demonstrated focus on moving HIM into the future of healthcare, advancement of technological workflows, and for her excellent visionary thinking
as an HIM professional.
AHIMA is proud to award
the 2017 Innovation Triumph
Award to Truman Medical
Centers Health Information
The HIM department at Truman Medical Centers (TMC)
in Kansas City, MO designed
an innovative IT solution to resolve the long-standing dilemma of patient referral delays.
The health system had traditionally received patient referrals for TMC services from outside entites by email, over the
phone, or on paper, and these requests were not well-tracked.
TMC leadership recognized a problem in the amount of time
required to process these referrals and turned to the HIM
department for help. The department worked tirelessly to
implement a solution—which included finding and installing new software, training staff members, and overseeing
ongoing process improvements.
The HIM department managed transfer of the existing
faxed/paper referrals to a cloud-based, web-enabled application in August 2015. This change allowed patients to be scheduled for appointments faster than ever before. From October
2015 to October 2016, the time needed for a referral to be assigned to a TMC resource for scheduling improved by 98.4
percent. Time for the entire referral process—from receipt of
referral to report or note to the referring provider—improved
by 68. 5 percent. Data from the referral system is used to analyze causes of appointment delays and identify facilities that
The HIM department at TMC found an innovative way
to improve the continuum of care so patients can more quickly
see other physicians and receive services to help them with their
medical needs. AHIMA congratulates Truman Medical Centers
Health Information Management Department for their oust-anding innovations to the HIM profession, and as a recipient
of the 2017 Innovation Triumph Award.