Development and Implementation of a Standardized, Electronic Oncology Nurse Navigator Metrics Tool

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Oncology Nurse Navigation aims to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality by eliminating barriers to timely access to cancer care. These barriers may be financial, psychological, social, or logistical, or they may be related to communication, language, literacy, or equity of health care delivery (Oncology Nursing Society, 2018). The Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators (AONN+) is the largest national specialty organization dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life by defining, enhancing, and promoting the role of oncology nurses and patient navigators. AONN+ identified 35 evidenced-based navigation metrics relevant to cancer patient navigation (Appendix A) and developed a toolkit recommending healthcare organizations evaluate and select the most appropriate metrics. The standardized tool aids in measuring programmatic success and coordinating high-quality, team-based care, which is integral to demonstrating the sustainability of navigation programs. This DNP project aimed to create and implement a standardized, evidence-based, electronic oncology nurse navigator metrics tool for use across various oncology specializations in the ambulatory services department at a university-based healthcare center. The navigation metrics tool was developed after reviewing the AONN+ recommendation. The goal of tool development and implementation was to combat unorganized and non-standardized data collection methods among the navigator team. Furthermore, the tool would inform patient navigation and clinical outcomes, encourage quality improvement initiatives, and inform return on investment, demonstrating the nurse navigator's value and position in the organization. Data were analyzed from 1,156 patients entered from December 7, 2021, to April 25, 2022, demonstrating standardized use of the tool for effective oncology case management. The tool enabled the collection of multiple data points for evaluating navigation program efficiency and for identifying areas for process improvements. Real-time digital data availability provided baseline information to guide quality improvement initiatives, inform patient outcomes, and demonstrate to leadership the value and contributions of oncology nurse navigation in ensuring a seamless cancer patient treatment journey.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Nursing Practice