Oncology Update: Care Coordinator Role Evolves

Premier Pulse     July 2017
Bane_HS_350x350  By Dr. Charles Bane, chair, Cancer Institute
  Dr. James Ouellette, vice chair, Cancer Institute

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to primary care physicians and oncologists across Premier Health.

Premier Health’s Cancer Institute recognizes the value that patient navigation brings to the patient care process. Whether from best practices literature, or learned from our own internal focus groups, patients are seeking cancer programs and physicians that offer robust navigation services focused on communication, coordination, and a multidisciplinary approach. In conjunction with our nursing leadership, we have assessed our current cancer coordinator program, and will soon be implementing enhancements to ensure that our cancer patients have access to this vital resource. Moving forward, we will be rebranding our cancer coordinators as “oncology nurse navigators.”

The purpose of this letter is three-fold:

  1. To ensure you are aware of these resources intended to help patients navigate the complex health care landscape as they battle cancer.
  2. To clearly define the specific roles and responsibilities of the oncology nurse navigator.
  3. To request that you recommend that your cancer patients meet with the appropriate oncology nurse navigator based on disease type.

Below you will find more detail on the role:

Patient-Facing Responsibilities

  • Educate patients and family members on disease treatments and processes, and reportable signs/symptoms
  • Act as single point of contact; facilitate coordinated communication among providers across the continuum
  • Eliminate barriers to care (transportation, financial, timely appointment access, etc.)
  • Support and connect patients to supportive services (counseling, nutrition, rehab services, etc.)

Physician- and Clinician-Facing Responsibilities

  • Document and communicate treatment recommendations made at cancer conferences for physicians
  • Work across disciplines to ensure timely appointments, results reporting, communication, and patient follow-up
  • Provide community education to increase participation in prevention and screening programs
  • Monitor appropriate diagnostic procedures for positive pathologies to ID new patients
  • Proactively develop collaborative relationships
  • Be an expert in national clinical practice guidelines and standards of care for specific cancers

If you have questions or concerns about the Oncology Nurse Navigator role, changes made, or would like more information, please reach out to Frank Sawyer, vice president of the oncology service line for Premier Health. We appreciate your support as we strive to continuously improve our cancer care. 

Back to the July 2017 issue of Premier Pulse

Premier Health Logo