The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) 35 Evidence-Based Standardized Navigation Metrics debuted in 2017 and have since helped navigators across the country to finally validate their programs through the use of hard data. Prior to the launch of the metrics, it was difficult to demonstrate the impact of oncology navigation on quality cancer care delivery, return on investment, patient experience, and program sustainability.At their Midyear Conference, members of the AONN+ Standardized Metrics Task Force announced the next phase of the initiative, the launch of a national pilot study on the use of 10 key metrics. The study is designed to evaluate common barriers and challenges navigation programs encounter during the implementation of the metrics, to further validate the reliability and validity of the measures, and to create best practices to elevate navigation services and garner support for advancing the delivery of patient-centered care.
Entitled, "National Evidence-Based Oncology Navigation Metrics: Multisite Exploratory Study to Demonstrate Value and Sustainability of Navigation Programs," the collaborative effort among AONN+, Chartis Oncology Solutions, and the American Cancer Society (ACS) will evaluate the feasibility and variability of data collection across an array of oncology care settings. The study will be implemented at 8 sites: 2 academic care centers, 2 community care centers, 2 centers that participate in the Oncology Care Model, and 2 maturing programs with no reports or metrics in place.The 10 selected metrics fall under the domains of Care Coordination/Care Transition; Care Coordination/Care Transition; Operations Management/Organizational Development/Health Economics; Operations Management/Organizational Development/Health Economics; Psychosocial Support Services/Assessment; Survivorship/End of Life; Patient Advocacy/Patient Empowerment; Professional Roles and Responsibilities; and Research/Quality/Performance Improvement. "The reason we've chosen these particular metrics is because they're low-hanging fruit; many of them are probably already part of the standards being captured in cancer programs," said Elaine Sein, BSN, RN, co–project leader of the AONN+ Evidence-Based Standardized Navigation Metrics project. "We will finally be comparing apples to apples, with the same data elements." Each site will report on their data collection processes, as well as the extent to which they are able to successfully implement the chosen metrics, and will receive site visits, quality checks, weekly calls, and educational support throughout the entire process. Sites will also be trained on the use of NAVmetrics, a cloud-based tool from Chartis Oncology Solutions designed for the data capture, management, and reporting of navigation metrics.
The researchers hope to identify best practices and lessons learned from the implementation and data collection process, to identify common clinical and IT challenges and barriers with navigation metrics implementation, and to eventually create a centralized navigation metrics database and repository.In collaboration with ACS, the task force also plans to develop a Navigation Metrics Implementation Toolkit based on the study findings. Finally, the team will identify patterns in data outcome from the 8 sites, with the hope of launching a secondary study to develop benchmarks. "We can't benchmark data on only 8 sites, but it will give us an idea of trends and patterns going forward," said Ms Sein. "Hopefully this will be a baseline pilot. Then we can go on to the next phase: a national research project."