Association of Community Cancer Centers' 2013 Innovator Award Recipients Take Spotlight at National Oncology Conference

Published: Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013

ROCKVILLE, MD—Ten cancer programs that have developed pioneering solutions to address the challenges of treating cancer patients have received the Association of Community Cancer Centers' 2013 Innovator Awards. Award winning innovations include creating a portable, secure electronic medical record that can travel with a patient in the wake of a natural disaster, a process to streamline cancer patients’ evaluation and management in the emergency room, expanding essential cancer and health screenings through mobile clinics, and improving access to genetic counseling for patients and their family members.

Established in 2011, ACCC's Innovator Awards are sponsored by GE Healthcare to honor exceptional cancer programs that exhibit forward-thinking strategic planning and have developed pioneering, replicable programs for cancer care delivery. The award recipients presented the details and outcomes of their programs at the ACCC National Oncology Conference, October 2-5, 2013, in Boston before an audience of more than 500 cancer care providers from across the country.

"Both ACCC and GE Healthcare are proud to honor programs that are enhancing community cancer care through progressive, patient-focused tools and strategies," said Virginia T. Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C, ACCC President and oncology social worker at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, Maine. "They will provide inspiration and spark new innovations for all of us working in cancer care."

The Innovator Awards are an example of how ACCC members have long been at the forefront of providing quality cancer care. A new report by the Institute of Medicine released September 10, 2013, "Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis," identifies significant deficiencies in the current state of cancer care delivery and makes 10 recommendations for improving oncology care in the United States. Many of this year’s Innovator Award-winning programs directly address issues highlighted in the IOM Report.

The 10 Innovator Award recipients are as follows:

Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Avera Cancer Institute, Sioux Falls, SD. Rural chemotherapy.

As part of its mission to ensure consistent access to quality care for patients in rural areas, Avera Cancer Institute created a process to unify chemotherapy administration standards across 45 sites. The goal was to ensure patient safety and quality care by establishing guidelines and standards of practice. Within nine months of launching the initiative, compliance across all sites that administer chemotherapy was achieved.

Baton Rouge General Medical Center, Pennington Cancer Center, Baton Rouge, LA. Disaster charts provide informational security net for patients.

Hurricane Katrina left cancer patients displaced and their treatments disrupted. Just outside of New Orleans, the Pennington Cancer Center received patients with no records. To complicate matters, phone and fax lines were down and treating physicians were unreachable. Taking lessons learned from that experience, the radiation oncology treatment team developed an emergency chart system—a portable electronic medical record that provides patients with their “must-have” documents in a universal format so that they may quickly resume care if displaced by a disaster.

The George Washington University, GW Cancer Institute, Washington, DC. Catalyzing patient-centered care to exceed new accreditation standards.

A key goal identified in the recent IOM report on the cancer care delivery is to “reduce disparities in access to cancer care for vulnerable and underserved populations.” The GW Cancer Institute’s Citywide Patient Navigation Network is being recognized for exactly this effort. This innovator has developed a program that helps patients navigate their cancer treatment. Lay navigators work with a social worker and nurse navigators to guide patients from screening through treatment and into survivorship care. Based on this program, GW’s Citywide Patient Navigation Network served 2,840 D.C. area residents in 2012—of whom 86 percent were minority and nearly 30 percent were uninsured.

Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute, Spartanburg, SC. Integration of palliative care into a medical oncology practice.

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