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For Immediate Release: June 1, 2009
ACCC Launches Cancer Care Patient Navigation Website
ROCKVILLE, Md.—The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has launched a comprehensive online resource to help cancer programs develop or enhance patient navigation services. Patient navigation in cancer care refers to individualized assistance offered to patients, families, and caregivers to help overcome healthcare system barriers and facilitate timely access to quality medical and psychosocial care.
"Given the complexities of cancer care today, patients need help navigating the path from detection and diagnosis through treatment and beyond," said ACCC Executive Director Christian Downs, JD, MHA. "This is particularly true of traditionally underserved populations where disparities in cancer care are greatest. ACCC’s Cancer Care Patient Navigation: 'A Call to Action' project reflects ACCC’s commitment to ensuring access to quality cancer care in the community setting."
The project is a joint effort by ACCC and the Meniscus Educational Institute in West Conshohocken, Pa. The project is made possible by an educational grant from sanofi-aventis U.S.
ACCC’s online resource is available at Cancer Care Patient Navigation web page and includes the following components of the project:
- Model patient navigation efforts underway at ACCC member programs and articles from a special supplement published with ACCC’s journal, Oncology Issues
- Sample forms, including pre-assessment forms, intake summaries, referrals forms, patient satisfaction surveys, outcomes measures, and more
- Information about a live web presentation on cancer care patient navigation, co-sponsored by the Meniscus Educational Institute. The webinar will take place on June 10, 2009, at 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm ET, and will be archived at Cancer Care Patient Navigation web page
- An update to ACCC's "Cancer Program Guidelines" to include patient navigation services
- A full array of tools, including navigator job descriptions, tracking forms, and discharge tools.
ACCC launched its Cancer Care Patient Navigation: A "Call to Action" Pilot Project to help community cancer centers enhance their patient navigation programs by 1) identifying barriers to programmatic success, 2) increasing successful implementation of patient navigation services, 3) refining staffing models, and 4) establishing effective metrics for measuring patient navigation services internally and for benchmarking patient navigation services against other community cancer centers.
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer and living with the disease may be confusing, intimidating, and overwhelming for an individual, family member, or caregiver. Cancer programs have a responsibility to assist patients, their families, and caregivers to navigate the continuum of care through a navigation program developed by the cancer program or via a partnership with a community agency that utilizes patient navigators. Since each cancer program understands its unique patient population and its community, individual programs or health systems can best create a navigator system that suits its needs.
One of the biggest issues in cancer care is the disparities that prevent optimal patient/physician interaction. These disparities are due to several barriers, such as socioeconomic and literacy levels, and cultural differences. Disparities in cancer care are faced most often in minority groups. Identifying such disparities and developing and implementing culturally competent and health-literate patient tools are keys to improving care for underserved cancer patients and thereby achieving optimal outcomes. A well-designed patient navigator program seeks to address such disparities.
As part of the project, six cancer centers were selected by an expert panel from more than 100 applicants to participate in a training program on patient navigation. The objective: to help them enhance or develop their patient navigation services. The six cancer programs selected as pilot sites for ACCC’s "Call to Action" program include: Roper St. Francis Cancer Center, Charleston, S.C.; John B. Amos Cancer Center in Columbus, Ga.; Baptist Health Care, Pensacola, Fla.; Georgetown Hospital System in Georgetown, S.C.; St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers, Beech Grove, Ind.; and Cookeville Regional Medical Center, Cookeville, Tenn.