Oncology Navigation Program

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Contact Information

Organization Information

Project Summary

The Oncology Navigation Program provides highly qualified, compassionate nursing and lay professionals to cancer patients at any point along the care continuum. They serve as one point of contact through every step of a cancer diagnosis, from screening and diagnosis through treatment and survivorship or end of life. They connect patients to clinical, psychosocial, supportive and spiritual resources to ensure the best care outcomes.

Project Goal

The AHN Oncology Navigation Program was developed to assist patients in navigating a confusing and overwhelming healthcare system through a cancer diagnosis.

Promotional Methods

We developed Navigation brochures that are available in outpatient oncology clinics, surgeon’s offices, radiation oncology offices, phone hold messages, word of mouth in community, print advertising in newspapers. Most navigators meet with newly screened or diagnosed patients face to face while in imaging or outpatient settings.

Project Challenges

Physician buy in is crucial in developing a new program. When starting a navigation program, physician champions will support the navigator role when the program is being developed; inform administrators of the benefits that they are seeing in care coordination, time to treatment benefits of navigation. Physicians who do not believe that concept of navigation is beneficial, do not refer patients for services. Physicians who have had patients navigated report higher satisfaction rates than patients who have not had navigation services. It took approximately one year for most physicians to accept the benefits and refer patients.

Project Results

Quantitative and qualitative data was gathered to show that navigation decreases time from screening to diagnosis and treatment. In one breast program, time from screening mammogram to diagnostic was 21 average days, reduced to 2 days and diagnostic workup to biopsy was reduced from 19 days to 5 days. Outmigration was reduced from 14 patients per month to 4 patients per month. Patient satisfaction increased as a result of our program as evidenced in a volume increase from 40 patients pre navigation diagnosed with breast cancer to 90 patients diagnosed after navigation services were introduced. There were no changes to the program or physicians that would account for the increase in volume. Anecdotally, 8 patients during the year of initiated navigation services left the health system for a second opinion and returned due to the personalized care and treatment that they received during their screening and diagnosis.

Organization Type

Health Facility (like Health system, FQHC, hospice)

Types of Practices

  • Academic Institution
  • Community
  • Health Systems
  • Workplace

Target Age Ranges

  • All

Gender(s)

  • All

Race/Ethnicity

  • All

Project Service Type

  • Advocacy
  • Awareness
  • Communications / Media
  • Community Outreach / Community Engagement
  • Counseling
  • Diagnosis
  • Disease Management (long-term)
  • Disease Treatment / Risk Treatment
  • Education / Training / Resource Development
  • Financial Assistance
  • Survivorship / Palliative Care
  • Prevention
  • Referral
  • Rehabilitation
  • Screening / Early Detection

Project Content Area

  • Health (general)
  • Cancer
  • Breast
  • Cervical
  • Colorectal
  • Lung
  • Melanoma
  • Prostate
  • Thyroid
  • Urinary Bladder
  • Testing

Project/Program Care Team Target Population

  • None

Counties Served

  • All Counties

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