O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center Receives Patient Navigation Grant from American Cancer Society – News

This grant will promote digital health literacy to address the growing need for patient engagement with technology.

Written by: Tehreem Khan
Media contact: Yvonne Taunton

This grant will promote digital health literacy to address the growing need for patient engagement with technology. The American Cancer Society has awarded $300,000 to the University of Alabama at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center in Birmingham and the University of South Alabama Health Mitchell Cancer Institute. The grant, which will help researchers identify barriers to digital health literacy, is one of 14 patient navigation grants awarded by the American Cancer Society to facilitate timely and equitable access to care for cancer patients and their families.

“Digital tools will increasingly become a standard part of navigating care and support resources,” said Gabrielle Rocque, MD, associate scientist at O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and principal investigator of the grant. “This grant will advance the training curriculum for navigators, social workers, and nurses to improve digital health literacy and engagement of underresourced populations to improve their cancer journey.”

In addition to supporting patients facing barriers to healthcare delivery, patient navigation staff are uniquely positioned to facilitate patient engagement with technology. Currently, navigators use web-based electronic medical record software to capture patient-reported data, including symptoms during clinical and home encounters.

Funds from this grant will provide a foundation for training navigators in digital health literacy, which will meet the growing technology needs of patients. This will serve to minimize disparities associated with unequal access to technologies that can improve health outcomes.

Ideally, these grants will lead to the identification of best practices that positively impact patient outcomes. The ACS will evaluate patient navigation programs based on the number of lives affected and the capacity for sustainability.

“Navigation is a crucial part of cancer care, from prevention to treatment and survivorship,” said Anna Lisa Weigel, director of cancer support strategic partnerships with the American Cancer Society. “By providing individualized assistance to patients, families and caregivers, Navigation ensures high quality care, creating positive health outcomes for patients.

The American Cancer Society’s mission is to free the world from cancer by investing in vital research, providing information and support, and working to ensure that individuals in every community have access to prevention, detection and to the treatment of cancer.

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