Oncology navigation is an ever-changing field that requires using new approaches to provide patients with the best care possible. By listening and responding to the needs of the navigator community, the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) is uniquely positioned to research, design, and share innovative resources to enable our members to be more effective navigators.
A navigator team is a necessary investment for any cancer center, but it can be seen as a lucrative one for some. In order to prove its value, AONN+ and the American Cancer Society developed the Navigation Metrics Toolkit, which provides standardized national metrics to measure programmatic success.
The toolkit identifies 35 separate and unique measurements—or metrics—to help navigators prove the value of their navigation program and track its progress. Each metric is backed by evidence from the medical literature and is designed to assist navigators in assessing their programs in terms of clinical outcomes, patient experience, and return on investment.
As emerging technologies such as somatic and germline testing plays an increasingly important role in cancer treatments, AONN+ recognized the growing needs of navigators to stay abreast of changes to testing eligibility criteria and guidelines. The AONN+ Building Relationships in Delivering Genetic/Genomic Education (BRIDGE) program was thus created with the aim to connect oncology navigators to cancer genetics/genomics professionals.
The BRIDGE program offers educational materials that focus on topics such as the role of genetic testing for common and rare cancer syndromes, next-generation sequencing, process of identification, management and referral, ethical and legal issues related to genetic testing, and more.
Newly diagnosed patients often ask many questions such as “What do I do next? How do I tell my children? Will I live?” The AONN+ Cancer Advocacy & Patient Education (CAPE) initiative provides a web-based library of best-practice information that providers in the lung cancer and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) spaces can give to their patients and caregivers at each point of interaction.
To develop this library, AONN+ collaborated with a coalition of industry partners and advocacy groups to identify common areas of need/concern for patients with cancer and their caregivers. Based on the identified areas of concern, the CAPE library offers educational modules that address the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being of patients.
With the ever-changing complexities of cancer, oncology navigators need to constantly adopt new approaches to ensure that patients receive the best care available, and oncology navigation continues to mature as a mainstay support strategy. Through innovative education, research, and networking, the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) always stands ready to support the concerted efforts of all oncology professionals toward a world without cancer.
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