Establishing Cancer Care Coordination Processes and Standardization for Oncology Nurse Navigators

Conference Correspondent - AVBCC 2019 Summit


As healthcare systems continue to shift toward more value-based care, administrators and clinicians are challenged to demonstrate the value of the services they provide, including those provided by patient navigator programs.

This informative breakout session, led by Sharon Gentry, RN, MSN, AOCN, CBCN, HON-ONN-CG, Breast Nurse Navigator, Novant Health, discussed the importance of demonstrating the positive impact of oncology navigation on care delivery, including how metrics can be used to support broader efforts to promote patient-centric, value-based cancer care.

Ms Gentry asked the panelists to discuss ways in which navigation programs are improving the care delivery model at their institutions, and how the success of these programs is being measured.

Mary Rivera, RN, AOCNS, Oncology Navigation Director, South Atlantic Division, Sarah Cannon, acknowledged the importance of implementing standardized metrics to gauge the success of navigation at her center.

“We try to focus on metrics that can be used across multiple cancer types, such as timeliness of care. Making sure that at the point of diagnosis, the patient has access to treatment in a timely manner,” she said.

Emily Gentry, RN, BSN, OCN, Navigation Director, Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute, agreed that timeliness of care is an important metric to focus on, because it can lead to process improvements.

“We were able to solve some challenges with our pathology turnaround times and provide more immediate and efficient care to our patients, which also impacts their diagnosis and treatment,” she noted.

She also reminded attendees that it is important for institutions to have a system in place to measure and report metrics, because navigators want to show their value and their contributions.

“You cannot move forward with metrics without that in place,” she said.

Anne Ireland, MSN, RN, AOCN, Executive Director, Community Practices & Outreach, Director at Large, Oncology Nursing Society Board, City of Hope, said that using metrics at her institution has helped them to convince personnel that when the nurse navigation role is implemented correctly, patients are less likely to call the triage center, because they are better educated on their illness and treatment.

Janet Gordils-Perez, DNP, RN, ANP-BC, AOCNP, Regional Vice President, Oncology Services, Summit Health Management, agreed that metrics are very important for improving patient care. She also suggested that navigators utilize the resources available at their institution to help them streamline the process for tracking metrics, so that they have more time for patient care.

“I want to make sure that the nurses are really caring for the patients and not just documenting and following up on spreadsheets,” she said. “Look within your organization. There are probably others who are trying to look at these metrics. So, tap into those resources.”