The 7th Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) welcomed more than 900 nurse and patient navigators to the Las Vegas Aria, and the meeting kicked off with a welcome session led by Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, Program Director and Cofounder of AONN+, and Sharon Gentry, RN, MSN, AOCN, CBCN, of the AONN+ Leadership Council.
This year’s conference addressed the evolution of the role of navigation in healthcare. Ms Shockney said attendees would gain insight on assessing strategies for navigating diverse patient populations by cancer type and environmental factors, defining methods for providing patient support and guidance in the age of personalized cancer care, evaluating best practices for survivorship and psychosocial care, and incorporating information regarding various navigation models and best practices for advancing the role of navigators.
She thanked the AONN+ sponsors, as well as the 85 exhibitors, a marked increase from the 42 in attendance last year. “They recognize and value your roles as navigators, so they want to provide you with tools and resources to make your job easier and to help you support your patients,” she told attendees.
Ms Shockney then introduced Crystal Dugger, Assistant Vice President of Clinical Operations at Sarah Cannon Research Institute and former patient navigator, who described the navigation program at her institution before announcing an exciting new collaboration between Sarah Cannon, AONN+, and Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot.
Ms Dugger emphasized the need for data and metrics in proving the value of the navigator role. “At Sarah Cannon, we had to make training programs that were consistent, we had to have a standardized approach to navigation, we had to make it scalable, and we had to be able to redevelop it over and over,” she said. “It’s not perfect, but we’re getting there.”
They now utilize a scorecard with data showing the impact of the navigator role on patient care. The card provides metrics on retention, growth, physician engagement, patient satisfaction, timeliness of care, and survival. “Now when I walk into meetings I get resources,” she said. “We have the largest navigation program in the US because of data, because of metrics, and because of showing outcomes.”
Because of the success of the navigation program at Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Moonshot expressed interest in recreating the program on a larger scale. So the research institute, along with AONN+, was accepted into the Cancer Moonshot as part of an initiative to evaluate and prove the value of patient navigation.
“There have been a lot of fads [in healthcare], but value and metrics will increase the credibility and the value of our role,” she said.
And last, Ms Shockney announced the 4 finalists nominated by their peers for the 5th annual Oncology Nurse Excellence (ONE) Award. The winner, Linda Penwarden, RN, MN, AOCN, was recognized for her outstanding contribution to patient care.