Patient Navigation

Posted in Community Outreach

On Monday May 20, 2013 the Shannon J. Shaw Memorial Fund held its first meeting in an effort to improve cancer services to the community of Carlsbad and its surrounding areas to introduce the possibility of a Patient Navigator program, which help when dealing with the medical system, insurance companies and language/communication barriers. You can contact us for more information about upcoming Patient Navigator meetings in Carlsbad, NM. 

Patient Navigation Concept:

Patient Navigation is an intervention that addresses barriers to quality standard care by providing individualized assistance to patients, survivors, and families. The NCI is conducting several research programs to test the effectiveness of this approach.

The expected outcomes of patient navigation through the cancer care system include:

  • Timely, definitive diagnosis following an abnormal test.
  • Timely treatment following positive diagnosis.
  • Patient satisfaction with the diagnostic and care system experience. 

Effects of these programs may help to improve access to quality, standard cancer care and could contribute to substantial progress towards the Healthy People 2010 goal of eliminating cancer health disparities.

What is a patient navigator?

Patient Navigators are trained, culturally sensitive health care workers who provide support and guidance throughout the cancer care continuum. They help people "navigate" through the maze of doctors' offices, clinics, hospitals, outpatient centers, insurance and payment systems, patient-support organizations, and other components of the health care system. Services are designed to support timely delivery of quality standard cancer care and ensure that patients, survivors, and families are satisfied with their encounters with the cancer care system. Patient Navigator activities designed to achieve these outcomes include: 

  • Coordinating appointments with providers to ensure timely delivery of diagnostic and treatment services.
  • Maintaining communication with patients, survivors, families, and the health care providers to monitor patient satisfaction with the cancer care experience.
  • Ensuring that appropriate medical records are available at scheduled appointments.
  • Arranging language translation or interpretation services.
  • Facilitating financial support and helping with paperwork.
  • Arranging transportation and/or child/elder care.
  • Facilitating linkages to follow-up services.

Other Navigator activities include community outreach, providing access to clinical trials, and building partnerships with local agencies and groups (e.g., referrals to other services and/or cancer survivor support groups). (All of the above information is credited to the National Cancer Institute, Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities - Patient Navigation Program)

For more information about Patient Navigator programs you can visit the following sites:
National Cancer Institute, Center to Reduce Cancer Disparities - Patient Navigation Program
Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services
American Cancer Society