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April 2, 2018 - MCI's acuity tool is featured on national magazine cover

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MOBILE, Alabama (4/02/18) -- An award-winning case management tool designed at USA Mitchell Cancer Institute is featured on the March-April cover of Oncology Issues, the national journal of the Association of Community Cancer Centers.

The navigation acuity tool was developed by MCI Quality Manager Diane Baldwin and MCI medical oncologist Dr. Thomas Butler to help nurse navigators optimize their resources under the new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Oncology Care Model, for which MCI was chosen in 2016. The OCM calls for higher quality care and advanced services for cancer patients.

The acuity tool project landed MCI one of nine Innovator Awards from the Association of Community Cancer Centers, joining the likes of Duke Cancer Institute and Penn Medicine Cancer Program. Of the nine winning projects, MCI’s was most prominently featured in the ACCC journal.

“I am thrilled for our project to have been chosen for the Innovator Award and published on the front cover of Oncology Issues,” said Meredith Jones, director of Quality Management at MCI. “This national recognition that our team has received speaks volumes about the quality of the patient care we provide, the dedication in our hearts and the love we have for our patients.”

The goal behind the development of the acuity tool was to accurately gauge a patient’s needs and determine the level of nurse navigation services needed. The team created the tool incorporating 11 factors related to three areas: cancer diagnosis and treatment, other medical and physical factors, and psychosocial and emotional well-being. They added a 12th factor – the nurse navigator’s subjective clinical assessment – and developed a scoring process.

“Our tool allows coordinators to quickly and easily view the numerous factors related to a patient’s disease, treatment, physical and psychosocial functioning,” Baldwin said.  “This helps coordinators to plan daily and weekly schedules, and ensure that the needs of all patients are met.”

To check the accuracy of the acuity tool’s scoring, the team applied it to a 247-patient caseload over a six-month period. What they found validated their work. High-acuity patients used more resources compared with those who were assigned low or medium acuity scores.

“Our hope is that other institutions will utilize our tool in their own settings and that together we will work toward setting the nationwide standards of navigation caseload management that have not historically existed,” Jones said.

For more information about the navigation acuity tool, watch this MCI video.

USA Mitchell Cancer Institute is the only academic cancer research and treatment facility on the upper Gulf Coast corridor, with offices in Mobile, Fairhope and Monroeville.

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