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Brook Blackmore, Nicole Centers, and Troy Gifford

Background: Sarah Cannon has established a standardized nurse navigation program for breast, lung, and Gi cancer patients. Navigators play a significant role in addressing barriers that may adversely impact patient outcomes. Historically, nurse navigators were spending up to 65% of their time data mining to identify new patients for navigation. This lost time compromises a navigator’s ability to effectively support patients. Sarah Cannon implemented a technology solution to address this manual process. Methods: A patient identification software application (patient ID), utilizing natural language processing technology, was developed to identify positive pathology reports across the enterprise in real time. Patient ID instantly routes those reports to a tumor site-specific oncology nurse navigator. The impact of this technology was assessed in 3 Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) markets from December 2016–March 2017. Total patient recall, total volume of reports reviewed, navigated patient volumes, navigator time allocation, and time from diagnosis to first treatment were studied. Results: Patient ID reviewed 47,544 pathology reports during the 4-month pilot, identifying 7,224 potential cancer reports. 2,782 of those represented breast, lung, or Gi cancer patients and were routed to a nurse navigator. Patient ID performed with an overall total patient recall of 98%, respectively. Decreased time spent data mining was observed, and navigator caseload increased by 71%. Time from diagnosis to first treatment decreased by an average of 6 days. Time allocated to direct patient contact and physician interaction increased by 35%. Conclusions: Implementation of a technology solution to rapidly identify new cancer patients for navigation in a community health system is feasible and associated with multiple benefits. Increased navigator patient volumes and navigator productivity were observed. Navigator time spent with patients and physicians increased with a concurrent reduction in data mining time. Timeliness of care metrics improved, suggesting a favorable impact on quality. This technology is now being deployed across the HCA enterprise.

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Dayna Crawford, Brook Blackmore, Jeremy Ortega, and Erica Williams

Background: Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in men and women combined, with an occurrence rate of 4.49% for men and 4.15% for women. The 2018 expectation is 50,630 deaths related to colon cancer in the United States (American Cancer Society Facts and Figures 2018). Early detection is increasing with nearly 45% of colon cancers diagnosed as stage I/II (Sarah Cannon Cancer Registry 2015). Treatment for early stage I/II colon cancer patients usually involves surgery then surveillance. On-site navigators perform their duties by patient need and barriers to care. Late stage III/IV colon cancer patients require more assistance and face more barriers, which often leaves early stage I/II patients without an advocate. This disparity can lead to lower rates of follow-up care for early stage I/II patients. Sarah Cannon created a program for virtual colon navigation (VCN) to determine if early stage I/II patients benefit from a virtual navigator who offers support by phone throughout their disease process. Objectives: The goal was to increase early stage I/II patients’ knowledge of their cancer and convey the importance of compliance with follow-up care, such as repeat colonoscopy as recommended by their physician and NCCN Guidelines. Methods: By developing software that utilizes artificial intelligence, Sarah Cannon created an automated process to identify colon cancer patients at the time of diagnosis. This technology then routes positive pathology reports to a VCN who contacts the early stage I/II patients by telephone, ensuring patient connection to the suitable physician for treatment. The VCN helps patients understand their diagnosis, provides education, assesses barriers to care, connects to resources, provides emotional support, and offers assistance with follow-up for physician visits, imaging and procedures such as colonoscopies, based upon NCCN Guidelines and physician guidelines. The VCN also connects stage III/IV patients with an on-site navigator in their region for more hands-on navigation. Results: Through September 2018, Sarah Cannon navigated 734 colon cancers, 332 stage I/II and 402 stage III/IV. With our increased capacity, Sarah Cannon/HCA maintained a 98% rate of follow-up care with new diagnoses of all stages of colon cancer. Conclusions: The VCN program allowed Sarah Cannon/HCA to improve care continuity and compliance based upon NCCN Guidelines for early stage I/II colon cancer patients throughout 5 regions and 37 facilities.