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Cancer. 2008 Dec 15;113(12):3391-9. doi: 10.1002/cncr.23960.

National Cancer Institute Patient Navigation Research Program: methods, protocol, and measures.

Author information

1
Women's Health Unit, Department of Medicine, and Women's Health Interdisciplinary Research Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA. Karen.freund@bmc.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patient, provider, and systems barriers contribute to delays in cancer care, a lower quality of care, and poorer outcomes in vulnerable populations, including low-income, underinsured, and racial/ethnic minority populations. Patient navigation is emerging as an intervention to address this problem, but navigation requires a clear definition and a rigorous testing of its effectiveness. Pilot programs have provided some evidence of benefit, but have been limited by evaluation of single-site interventions and varying definitions of navigation. To overcome these limitations, a 9-site National Cancer Institute Patient Navigation Research Program (PNRP) was initiated.

METHODS:

The PNRP is charged with designing, implementing, and evaluating a generalizable patient navigation program targeting vulnerable populations. Through a formal committee structure, the PNRP has developed a definition of patient navigation and metrics to assess the process and outcomes of patient navigation in diverse settings, compared with concurrent continuous control groups.

RESULTS:

The PNRP defines patient navigation as support and guidance offered to vulnerable persons with abnormal cancer screening or a cancer diagnosis, with the goal of overcoming barriers to timely, quality care. Primary outcomes of the PNRP are 1) time to diagnostic resolution; 2) time to initiation of cancer treatment; 3) patient satisfaction with care; and 4) cost effectiveness, for breast, cervical, colon/rectum, and/or prostate cancer.

CONCLUSIONS:

The metrics to assess the processes and outcomes of patient navigation have been developed for the NCI-sponsored PNRP. If the metrics are found to be valid and reliable, they may prove useful to other investigators.

PMID:
18951521
PMCID:
PMC2698219
DOI:
10.1002/cncr.23960
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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