Patient experience has emerged as an important component of healthcare. When a patient feels heard by their healthcare provider, when they feel that their concerns are addressed and their care is coordinated, they will likely report having a positive healthcare experience. Actively listening to the patient, addressing their concerns, providing effective education, and coordinating their care are all hallmarks of a successful navigation program. It follows that oncology navigation programs directly impact the patient experience. As such, the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) created metrics specific to patient experience as a method for measuring navigation success.
The AONN+ Standardized Metrics Source Document is organized into 8 domains of knowledge and designed to measure clinical outcomes, return on investment, and patient experience. AONN+ encourages its members to measure patient experience as a means to monitor the success of their navigation program. In this article, we present the AONN+ metrics that are specific to the patient experience.
For more information on the AONN+ metrics, please visit www.AONNonline.org.
Metrics are a part of the daily navigation professional role, and they often overlap with data that are being collected by a cancer program. For example, if the program is accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC), Standard 4.8: Survivorship Program encourages that patients receive a survivorship care plan (SCP), but it is no longer a required component of meeting this standard. Now, the survivorship program team determines a list of services and programs that are offered on-site or by referral to holistically address the needs of cancer survivors. The CoC suggested list includes but is not limited to1:
- Treatment summaries
- Survivorship care plans
- Screening programs for cancer recurrence
- Screening for new cancers
- Seminars for survivors
- Rehabilitation services
- Nutritional services
- Psychological support and psychiatric services
- Support groups and services
- Formalized referrals to experts in cardiology, pulmonary services, sexual dysfunction, and fertility
- Financial support services
- Physical activity programs
In reflection of this list, the navigator may be discussing and creating an SCP but may also be referring to support services at the time of transition to survivorship. To meet the standard, an annual estimate of the number of cancer patients who participated in the 3 identified services and identification of the resources needed to improve the programs if barriers were encountered must be reported. As a navigator, do you refer to rehabilitation services, support groups, psychological services, dietary consults, or other services listed above? Do you ensure follow-up screening is in place for the patient? If needed services are not available, or if there are barriers to services, is this a conversation you have with the cancer team?
If your cancer program participates in national standards and indicators that are defined by the CoC National Accreditation Program, the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, the Oncology Care Model, the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative, or the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, please look at the AONN+ Evidence-Based Oncology Navigation Metrics Crosswalk with National Oncology Standards and Indicators article and see how navigation aligns and works with other metrics your cancer program may be collecting.2
- American College of Surgeons. Commission on Cancer. Standard 4.8: Survivorship Program. www.facs.org/-/media/files/quality-programs/cancer/coc/standard_4_8_survivorship_program.ashx.
- Strusowski T, Johnston D. AONN+ evidence-based oncology navigation metrics crosswalk with national oncology standards and indicators. Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship. 2018;9(6):214-221.