To provide optimal care for patients with cancer, we must be able to provide equitable care for all. The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) has been striving to create opportunities for all its members that will contribute to providing equitable care.
Many oncology nurse and patient navigators work along underserved populations that need improved healthcare access, advocacy, and care coordination, and navigators use their clinical skills and talents to address deep-rooted issues related to distrust in providers and the health system.
Since its inception, AONN+ has demonstrated sensitivity and responsiveness to diverse patient populations. Here are some of AONN+ initiatives working toward equitable care:
Mandi Pratt-Chapman, PhD, Associate Center Director, Patient-Centered Initiatives and Health Equity for the GW Cancer Center, shares her thoughts in the bi-weekly Navigation & Survivorship newsletter. Mandi’s column in this member-exclusive newsletter is always centered around training, webinars, and advice for providing equitable care for all patient populations.
In a recent piece on health equity for LGBTQI cancer patients, Mandi said that in healthcare, not discriminating is not enough. To advance health equity, we can provide in-clinic cues that diverse patients are welcome. Knowing the preferences, values, and lived experiences of patients and their caregivers informs our ability to provide affirming care to the patients.
AONN+ joined Pfizer to provide learning and best practice suggestions for identifying gaps in cancer care.
This initiative, which has zeroed in on several focused topics for collaboration in 2021 tied to health equity and reducing health disparities, has ignited a network of leaders to better support cancer patients.
The POPCE yields actionable insights that are enhancing Pfizer’s patient centricity efforts, serving as a “best practice” model to be replicated by other Pfizer therapeutic areas, and providing opportunities for information-sharing and partnerships across the cancer community.
Technology Innovation Integration to Address Underserved Disparate Patients
This project demonstrates how to reduce racial disparities in cancer care using the Accountability for Cancer Care through Undoing Racism and Equity (ACCURE) trial as a model.
The ACCURE study is funded by the National Cancer Institute and attempts to determine if technology and other tools can help African-American patients with breast and lung cancer receive the same level of care as white Americans. The research team found that a real-time registry combined with feedback and navigation narrowed disparities and improved completion of treatment for all patients with breast and lung cancer.
AONN+ is collaborating with the ACCURE team to create a resource that identifies stakeholder key roles and addresses specific challenges/barriers. This resource includes process examples of defining performance improvement measurements and tracking mechanisms to approach underserved disparate patients.
The AONN+ video library is filled with resources for every branch of oncology navigation, including resources on equitable care.
For instance, a basic competency of all oncology navigators is the ability to address language and cultural differences, barriers created by these differences, and an approach to foster trust and empowerment within the communities they serve.
To help address such needs, the AONN+ video library contains dozens of presentations on “barriers to care.” In these videos, various oncology professionals offer insights into equitable care for older people, indigenous people, people with mental issues, people who live in rural poverty, and more.
Health equity means providing care that does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Healthcare organizations are increasingly making health equity a strategic priority and oncology professionals also need to keep pushing for equity in cancer care and work with like-minded people from all sides of the issue to find solutions.
Become a member of AONN+ today to join our fight against health disparities and providing equitable cancer care to all!
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