Patient Acuity: The Current Landscape of Accurately Assessing Patient Attributes

July 2019 Vol 10, No 7
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS; Co-Founder, AONN+; University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Developer, Work Stride-Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions

Dear Navigators, Social Workers, Administrators, and Clinical Staff,

The word “acuity” is used frequently in healthcare literature; however, the true concept of acuity is sometimes misunderstood. Acuity is the accurate description of patient attributes that should be used to classify care needs and navigation requirements. In assessing and prioritizing patients’ needs, it becomes possible to predict the appropriate allocation of resources.

To this end, the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) has entered into a collaboration with Astellas US, LLC, to develop, standardize, and validate an evidence-based, oncology navigation–specific acuity tool. With the ability to accurately assess acuity of oncology patients, predict workload intensity, and measure patient outcomes, this tool will increase navigators’ effectiveness while decreasing the cost of care.

In this issue, we present a literature scoping review article that represents the groundwork for this initiative. Through their research, the authors methodically address these questions:

What are the definitions of acuity, acuity tool, acuity system, barriers to care, and distress?

  • How can barriers to care be categorized?
  • Is there a relationship between barriers to care and acuity?
  • Is there a relationship between distress and acuity?
  • What acuity tools already exist?
  • How can a patient acuity score relate to factors such as productivity, return on investment, staffing/caseload, effectiveness, and time management?
  • Is there any support in the literature to demonstrate that any of the AONN+ Standardized Metrics are patient acuity measures?

I invite you to read their article entitled “Key Considerations for an Evidence-Based Oncology Patient Navigation–Specific Acuity Tool: A Scoping Review.” I am confident that the results from this initiative will help you in your navigation practice.


Lillie Digital Signature
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS, University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Co-Developer of Work Stride: Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions, Program Director and Co-Founder of AONN+
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Related Articles
National Nurses Month: Celebrating the Impact of Nurses
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
May 2023 Vol 14, No 5
All day, every day, nurses make all the difference in delivering high-quality care to those who need it the most. On behalf of all of us at AONN+, I want to recognize the nurses in our community for their invaluable contributions to healthcare.
Will Your Team Receive an Exceptional Research in Navigation Award?
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
April 2023 Vol 14, No 4
The abstract submission portal is open, and our expert peer-reviewers are standing by, awaiting your evidence-based navigation research studies, quality improvement projects, and best practices to consider for inclusion at the AONN+ Annual Conference.
A Community of Navigators, 2.1K Strong!
March 2023 Vol 14, No 3
I would like to extend a personal invitation to each of you to join our private AONN+ Facebook group.
Last modified: November 15, 2022

Subscribe Today!

To sign up for our print publication or e-newsletter, please enter your contact information below.

I'd like to receive:

  • First Name *
    Last Name *
    Profession or Role
    Primary Specialty or Disease State