“Devote today to something so daring you can’t believe you’re doing it.” – Oprah Winfrey
Launching an association wasn’t something we ever thought we’d do (let alone do again). But 2 years ago, when faced with the tremendous need for a professional home for chronic and complex care nurse navigators, we took the plunge and founded the Association of Chronic & Complex Care Nurse Navigators (ACCCNN).
In November, thanks to the hard work and detailed planning of many people, that decision culminated in our inaugural ACCCNN Summit. Held in collaboration with AONN+’s 14th Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference in San Antonio, our event drew about 100 combined virtual and live attendees. (Ironically, this is nearly the same number of people who attended the first ever AONN+ meeting that Lillie Shockney hosted in 2010.) It was truly impressive to see the high level of engagement among the in-person attendees and in the online chat box!
From our team, Billie Lynn Allard and Jennifer Edwards, ACCCNN Co-Founders and Co-Program Directors, served as moderators for this year’s historic event. Lillie Shockney, ACCCNN Co-Founder and Mentor, served as a speaker and provided oversight of the virtual chat conversations throughout both days.
Highlights of the Inaugural ACCCNN Summit
ACCCNN is a professional, national organization whose mission is to provide a platform that educates, supports, and empowers chronic and complex care nurse navigators to drive transformative patient-centered, value-based care. Our goal is to help improve access and equity of healthcare across the country.
The presentations given at our inaugural Summit clearly demonstrated the accomplishments of both established and developing nurse navigation programs, raising awareness for what nurse navigators working in this space could achieve responding to the shifts in payer contracts across the country.
We heard presentations on how to successfully perform chronic disease management (including one presentation on irritable bowel disease management), how to demonstrate return on investment and get champions within the administrative and financial world of hospitals to buy into this concept, and how patient outcomes can be changed for the better through the coordination of care and teamwork.
A theme that emerged during the conference was payer contracts focused on improved quality and decreased cost (value-based contracts) versus volume (fee-for-service contracts), and incentivizing health systems to consider our strategy. We used the SOAR strategic planning tool, which includes Strengths, Opportunities, Aspiration, and Results.
We also looked into the future of healthcare, learning about the hospital-at-home model and how it yields cost-savings, and improved patient experience and clinical outcomes by moving chronic and complex care out of the hospital and into the patient’s home.
One highlight of the Summit was having presenters from AONN+ and ACCCNN give a joint presentation on the need for navigators, who manage patients diagnosed with cancer and multiple comorbidities, to work together to provide the specialized care these patients need. The similarities between the two organizations—their passion, enthusiasm, commitment—was palpable.
Having AONN+ as our sister organization is a big advantage given its understanding of the growing pains and challenges a new professional organization can have. AONN+’s experiences have definitely paved the way for ACCCNN.
Toward the end of the Summit, everyone was invited to share their thoughts on ACCCNN’s strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results moving forward. We also discussed the formation of a Leadership Council and subcommittees to meet the current and future needs of ACCCNN’s membership.
Prior to the Summit meeting, a white paper was published outlining how the concept of such an organization came about and the need for it to encompass the development of an interprofessional network platform for navigators caring for patients with chronic diseases. We also want the organization to support navigators to connect and share knowledge, which this first meeting certainly did.
To say the ACCCNN Summit was a success would be an understatement. We are officially and enthusiastically launched!
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