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Home > Mediaroom > Press Releases > 2009 > ACCC Launches Cancer Care Patient Navigation Website

Lori Gardner, Senior Director
Communications & Marketing
301.984.9496 ext. 226

ACCC News Release

For Immediate Release: June 1, 2009

ACCC Launches Cancer Care Patient Navigation Website

ROCKVILLE, Md.—The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has launched a comprehensive online resource to help cancer programs develop or enhance patient navigation services. Patient navigation in cancer care refers to individualized assistance offered to patients, families, and caregivers to help overcome healthcare system barriers and facilitate timely access to quality medical and psychosocial care.

"Given the complexities of cancer care today, patients need help navigating the path from detection and diagnosis through treatment and beyond," said ACCC Executive Director Christian Downs, JD, MHA. "This is particularly true of traditionally underserved populations where disparities in cancer care are greatest. ACCC’s Cancer Care Patient Navigation: 'A Call to Action' project reflects ACCC’s commitment to ensuring access to quality cancer care in the community setting."

The project is a joint effort by ACCC and the Meniscus Educational Institute in West Conshohocken, Pa. The project is made possible by an educational grant from sanofi-aventis U.S.

ACCC’s online resource is available at Cancer Care Patient Navigation web page and includes the following components of the project:

ACCC launched its Cancer Care Patient Navigation: A "Call to Action" Pilot Project to help community cancer centers enhance their patient navigation programs by 1) identifying barriers to programmatic success, 2) increasing successful implementation of patient navigation services, 3) refining staffing models, and 4) establishing effective metrics for measuring patient navigation services internally and for benchmarking patient navigation services against other community cancer centers.

The diagnosis and treatment of cancer and living with the disease may be confusing, intimidating, and overwhelming for an individual, family member, or caregiver. Cancer programs have a responsibility to assist patients, their families, and caregivers to navigate the continuum of care through a navigation program developed by the cancer program or via a partnership with a community agency that utilizes patient navigators. Since each cancer program understands its unique patient population and its community, individual programs or health systems can best create a navigator system that suits its needs.

One of the biggest issues in cancer care is the disparities that prevent optimal patient/physician interaction. These disparities are due to several barriers, such as socioeconomic and literacy levels, and cultural differences. Disparities in cancer care are faced most often in minority groups. Identifying such disparities and developing and implementing culturally competent and health-literate patient tools are keys to improving care for underserved cancer patients and thereby achieving optimal outcomes. A well-designed patient navigator program seeks to address such disparities.

As part of the project, six cancer centers were selected by an expert panel from more than 100 applicants to participate in a training program on patient navigation. The objective: to help them enhance or develop their patient navigation services. The six cancer programs selected as pilot sites for ACCC’s "Call to Action" program include: Roper St. Francis Cancer Center, Charleston, S.C.; John B. Amos Cancer Center in Columbus, Ga.; Baptist Health Care, Pensacola, Fla.; Georgetown Hospital System in Georgetown, S.C.; St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers, Beech Grove, Ind.; and Cookeville Regional Medical Center, Cookeville, Tenn.

About the Association of Community Cancer Centers
The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) is the leading advocacy and education organization for the multidisciplinary cancer care team. More than 23,000 cancer care professionals from over 2,000 hospitals and practices nationwide are affiliated with ACCC. It is estimated that 65 percent of the nation's cancer patients are treated by a member of ACCC. Providing a national forum for addressing issues that affect community cancer programs, ACCC is recognized as the premier provider of resources for the entire oncology care team. Our members include medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, cancer program administrators and medical directors, senior hospital executives, practice managers, pharmacists, oncology nurses, radiation therapists, social workers, and cancer program data managers. For more information, visit ACCC's website at Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and read our blog, ACCCBuzz.

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