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J Public Health Manag Pract. 2015 Sep-Oct;21(5):433-40. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000132.

Patient Navigation in a Colorectal Cancer Screening Program.

Author information

Rollins School of Public Health, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia (Drs Escoffery and Ms Liang); University of Texas, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, Houston (Drs Fernandez and Vernon); Center for Cancer Prevention and Control Research, University of California Los Angeles (Dr Maxwell); Community Health Program, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Allen); University of Colorado Cancer Center, Denver (Ms Dwyer); Health Promotion Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle (Dr Hannon and Ms Kohn); and Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr DeGroff).



Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer death among cancers affecting both men and women in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) supports both direct clinical screening services (screening provision) and activities to promote screening at the population level (screening promotion).


The purpose of this study was to characterize patient navigation (PN) programs for screening provision and promotion for the first 1 to 2 years of program funding.


We conducted a cross-sectional survey of the 29 CRCCP grantees (25 states and 4 tribal organizations) and 14 in-depth interviews to assess program implementation.


The survey and interview guide collected information on CRC screening provision and promotion activities and PN, including the structure of the PN program, characteristics of the navigators, funding mechanism, and navigators' activities.


Twenty-four of 28 CRCCP grantees of the survey used PN for screening provision whereas 18 grantees used navigation for screening promotion. Navigators were often trained in nursing or public health. Navigation activities were similar for both screening provision and promotion, and common tasks included assessing and responding to patient barriers to screening, providing patient education, and scheduling appointments. For screening provision, activities centered on making reminder calls, educating patients on bowel preparation for colonoscopies, and tracking patients for completion of the tests. Navigation may influence screening quality by improving patients' bowel preparation for colonoscopies.


Our study provides insights into PN across a federally funded CRC program. Results suggest that PN activities may be instrumental in recruiting people into cancer screening and ensuring completed screening and follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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