Fast track proposals will be accepted.
Direct-to-Phase II proposals will not be accepted.
Number of anticipated awards: 2-4
Budget (total costs, per award):
Phase I: up to $400,000 for up to 9 months
Phase II: up to $2,000,000 for up to 2 years
PROPOSALS THAT EXCEED THE BUDGET OR PROJECT DURATION LISTED ABOVE MAY NOT BE FUNDED.
Cancer care delivery systems are complex and difficult to navigate. Patient navigators (PNs) help patients navigate these systems. PNs facilitate timely cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment by decreasing barriers to care. Navigation programs have successfully reduced time from detection to diagnosis, and from diagnosis to start of treatment, in cervical, breast, and colorectal cancers, and have reduced disparities in cancer outcomes due to differences in income or employment.
Nurses, social workers, and lay persons may serve as PNs. PNs work with patients to overcome health system barriers, provide health education, and psychosocial support. Common tasks of PNs include patient education and communication, scheduling and coordinating appointments, communication with clinicians, connecting patients and caregivers with community resources, and assistance with medical paperwork.
Patient navigation services are mandated by the Commission on Cancer. There is an increasing demand for expanding the use of PNs in all phases of the cancer care continuum. A National Academy of Medicine (NAM) report has identified several challenges faced by PNs, including: care coordination, tracking patients through their trajectory of care with different clinicians and facilities, supporting patients throughout the cancer care continuum, and addressing communication, transportation, and financial barriers. It takes significant time for PNs to collate information across different information systems, from patients and their caregivers, and from the relevant clinicians. It can be cognitively burdensome for navigators to synthesize this information, triage key tasks, and address patient needs in a timely manner. Projected increases in cancer survivors will further strain the capacity of the existing professional PN workforce, accelerating the need for new approaches to support and extend the work of both professional and lay PNs.
Information technology (IT) has the potential to increase the reach and effectiveness of patient navigation programs by supporting the day-to-day work of PNs. IT-based tools can provide education, support communication and coordination, curate information, assist decision-making, reduce cognitive burden by improving information synthesis or decision support, and adaptively meet patients’ needs. However, the lack of user-centered design and sub-optimal integration of navigation related IT tools into existing IT systems are significant barriers. User-friendly IT tools are needed to reduce the cognitive and time burden of performing navigation tasks. User-friendly IT tools that are integrated in the workflow of PNs can improve cancer care delivery and patient outcomes.
The long-term goal is to provide timely cancer care and improve patient outcomes by developing new software tools that support patient navigation. The short-term goals are to develop, deploy and evaluate IT tools that: 1) reduce the cognitive or time burden (or both) of navigation-related tasks performed by either PNs or patients; 2) are well-integrated in the work flow of PNs and existing IT architecture; 3) securely transmit information across a variety of IT systems.
The technical scope includes the development, deployment and evaluation of IT tools that support patient navigation. The tool design approach must account for integration within existing IT systems, interoperability, cyber-security and protecting patient’s privacy.
Activities outside the scope of this Topic:
Not using a human-centered design process to understand and meet the users’ needs; development of tools that do not use current best practices for inter-operability, cybersecurity and patient privacy; development of tools that are either not integrated in the work flow or in the existing IT architecture; merely increasing access to patient data (e.g. increasing access to data within a patient portal) without synthesis and presentation of data in a manner that reduces the user’s cognitive burden.
Phase II activities should support the commercialization of the proposed technology, including but not limited by the following activities:
Receipt date: October 23, 2019, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Apply for this topic on the Contract Proposal Submission (eCPS) website.
For full PHS2020-1 Contract Solicitation, CLICK HERE.