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Doug Hutton
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Association of Community Cancer Centers Announces Annual Innovator Award Winners

Rockville, MD — The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) today announced the winning programs for its eleventh annual ACCC Innovator Awards, spotlighting forward-thinking cancer care programs tackling challenges ranging from financial toxicity to telehealth advancements.

The seven ACCC Innovator Award winners demonstrate cutting-edge and replicable solutions across all areas of the multidisciplinary cancer care team. Creative program approaches include proactive solutions to transportation barriers, virtual reality that improves patient education, remote patient monitoring during the pandemic, and more.

“The ACCC Innovator Awards allow us to learn from our creative and inventive colleagues to ultimately improve patient care,” said ACCC President Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW. “During these tumultuous and uncertain times, these awards shed light on the positive advancements that continue to drive cancer care forward. The fact that none of these programs would be possible without collaboration across teams, across disciplines, and, in some cases, into and across community organizations, is particularly striking.”

ACCC Innovator Award winners demonstrate the ability to advance the goals of improving access, quality, and value in cancer care delivery, while also providing replicable solutions for other programs.

Each 2021 ACCC Innovator Award program recipient will deliver a presentation on its winning program at ACCC’s 38th [Virtual] National Oncology Conference, held November 9 and 10, 2021.

What: Association of Community Cancer Center’s 38th [Virtual] National Oncology Conference 

When: November 9-10, 2021

Where: Online via ACCC’s website.

The virtual conference will feature presentations on creative solutions to pressing challenges in cancer care from the 2021 Innovator Award Winners. Registrants will also hear from leading cancer care professionals on the evolving impacts of COVID-19 on cancer care, learn from immersive sessions focused on quality and performance improvement projects, and participate in an alternative payment models workshop to prepare for the transition to value-based care.

Oncology professionals can find more information on the conference’s agenda and register to attend the conference on ACCC’s website.

Media interested in access to the sessions should contact Lori Gardner, ACCC Senior Director, Membership and Public Relations, at

ACCC 2021 Innovator Award Winners

An APP-Physician Model Improves Risk Stratification and Palliative Care

Cancer Care Associates of York, York, Pennsylvania

With the understanding that patient education about palliative care is an important component of oncology care, this practice implemented an APP-Physician model to provide this education. Risk-stratification assessment tools establish baseline metrics related to deficits in the areas of nutrition, psychosocial, performance and mental status changes, skin breakdown, fall risks, incontinence risk, and treatment tolerance, as well as existing co-morbidities. Providers then use these outcome measurements to make patient-specific, safe treatment decisions about chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery, and/or radiation.

Implementing a Transportation Hub: A Holistic Approach to a Systemic Problem

Cone Health Cancer Center, Greensboro, North Carolina

After data showed that individuals living in two ZIP codes had a 12% and 15% no-show rate, compared to the average of 2.9% across all ZIP codes, this cancer program implemented a screening tool to initiate transportation discussions with patients before “non-compliance” with treatment became an issue. A pilot program addressed identified patient needs using an online transportation platform. Overall no-show appointments decreased by 48% and no-show incidence from patients living in the two at-risk ZIP codes dropped to 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively.

Remote Monitoring of Patients with Cancer During COVID-19

Inova Schar Cancer Institute, Fairfax, Virginia

This cancer program piloted a remote monitoring program for clinically stable COVID-19 positive patients with cancer. Using equipment provided to them by the cancer program, patients reported vital measurements three times daily. Data was collected on a password-protected patient dashboard and monitored 12 hours a day, 7 days a week by advanced practice providers. APPs and physicians worked in tandem to make clinical determinations on appropriate next steps, documenting provider communications and clinical recommendations in the EHR.

The DISCO App: A Patient-Focused Tool to Reduce Financial Toxicity

Karmanos Cancer Institute/Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

The DISCO (DIScussions of COst) app educates patients with cancer about potential treatment-related costs and generates tailored questions to prompt cost-related conversations with providers. In a pilot study, the app significantly improved patients’ self-efficacy for managing treatment costs and interacting with providers while decreasing cost-related distress. Most important, 100% of these video-recorded clinic visits included a cost discussion on topics ranging from patient co-pays to transportation.

Developing a Cancer Care and Community Paramedicine Partnership

Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Albuquerque, New Mexico

To reduce ED utilization and exposure to infectious disease, this pilot program identified symptoms that could be appropriately managed in a lower level of care setting—a patient’s home. A mobile integrated health team provided clinical interventions and wellness checks, such as hydration and labs, from the safety of the patients’ homes. Throughout 2020, the care team made 652 home visits to 169 patients with cancer.

3D Virtual Reality: Changing the Standard of Care for Patients with Cancer and Their Caregivers

University of Colorado Cancer Center, UCHealth-Oncology Services, Aurora, Colorado

Virtual reality (VR) is uniquely positioned to improve patient understanding of cancer and its treatments. During clinical consultations, radiation oncology staff use a mobile VR cart to provide 3D patient-specific CT, MRI, and PET-CT imaging to enhance provider and patient interaction, improve patient education, and reduce patient distress. Hear results from a clinical study that captured both quantitative and qualitative data on patient acceptance and perceived usefulness of VR in cancer education and treatment.

Oncology Capture of ED Patients with Incidental Radiologic Findings

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Increased use of CT scans in emergency departments leads to higher rates of incidental radiologic findings, including adrenal masses and pulmonary lung nodules. In this “pull” model for follow-up care, ED providers use the EHR to prompt oncology nurse navigators and case managers to contact patients with incidental findings. Prompt follow-up allows for earlier diagnosis and treatment—improving care and the patient experience. From a business perspective, the cancer program realized financial gains through additional visits, procedures, surgeries, radiology scans, and/or lab.

Details including blog posts and videos on each of the programs are available here.

About the Association of Cancer Care Centers

The Association of Cancer Care Centers (ACCC) is the leading education and advocacy organization for the cancer care community. Founded in 1974, ACCC is a powerful network of 40,000 multidisciplinary practitioners from 2,100 hospitals and practices nationwide. As advances in cancer screening and diagnosis, treatment options, and care delivery models continue to evolve - so has ACCC - adapting its resources to meet the changing needs of the entire oncology care team. For more information, visit Follow us on social media; read our blog, ACCCBuzz; tune in to our CANCER BUZZ podcast; and view our CANCER BUZZ TV channel.