The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators’ (AONN+) Announces the Opening of a National Acuity Quality Initiative

Press Releases published on November 7, 2022

Sites interested in participating in the quality initiative are invited to submit a letter of intent prior to December 5, 2022.

CRANBURY, NJ (Nov. 7, 2022) – The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators’ (AONN+) National Navigation Acuity Team is developing a standardized, validated, evidence-based Navigation Acuity Tool for oncology navigation programs. This tool will help address gaps that exist with current acuity tools, both in reliability and validity, while allowing oncology navigators to accurately characterize the complexity of their patients, aid in the allocation of navigation resources, and measure the effectiveness of navigation on patient outcomes. Astellas Pharma US, Inc., is sponsoring this body of work.

Any oncology program interested in participating in the study of the Navigation Acuity Tool is invited to submit a letter of intent no later than December 5, 2022. More information about the study and the letter criteria can be found at

This effort, which began in 2018, is being spearheaded by a 15-member team of oncology navigators and other professionals from across the US. The team is co-chaired by AONN+ members Danelle Johnston, MSN, RN, HON-ONN-CG, OCN, and Tricia Strusowski, MS, RN.

“Over the past decade, there has been an enormous change within the oncology setting that has led to the need for navigation services,” says Johnston. “The full potential of navigation has not yet been realized, however. An acuity tool, such as this, will assist navigators in effectively allocating navigation resources and managing navigator caseload.”

“Today’s healthcare is driven by the delivery of value, quality and outcomes,” Strusowski says. “For cancer programs to receive full reimbursement from payers, they must not only demonstrate high-quality, high-value care, they must also show improved patient outcomes. Navigation services are an essential component of this endeavor. Our hope is that this acuity tool may support and enhance the effectiveness of oncology navigators through patient-centric, evidence-based methods.”

In developing the Navigation Acuity Tool, the team began with an examination of known navigation acuity scales found in literature over a 10-year period (2008-2018). A total of 1,711 articles were screened, 199 full-text publications were reviewed, and 105 relevant articles were identified. This provided the basic framework for the tool. A focus group was then conducted with oncology navigators to gather insight and explore their perceptions of the tool design and function.

The team agreed that the tool should meet the following criteria:

  • Can be implemented across settings and roles
  • Simple and easily incorporated by a navigation team
  • Supports sustainability for navigation programs
  • Supports national guidelines and AONN+ navigation metrics
  • Facilitates safe, effective, and efficient care

AONN+ gratefully acknowledges Astellas Pharma US, Inc., for its support of the Oncology Navigation Acuity Initiative. When finalized, this may support and enhance oncology navigators’ effectiveness through patient-centric, evidence-based methods that may have the potential to decrease the overall cost of care.

About the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (AONN+)
The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (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 nurse and patient navigators. The organization, which has more than 9,000 members, was founded in 2009 to provide a network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services in order to better manage the complexities of the cancer treatment process.

For Immediate Release
Gwen Coverdale, 267-884-6328
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