ONS Resources for Patient Navigation

Patient navigation programs can help to improve outcomes and reduce disparities; however, little is known about their effects on clinical outcomes, such as survival. In a retrospective, cohort study, a nurse-led patient navigation program was initiated to assess 12-month survival outcomes. The researchers presented the study at the ASCO Annual Meeting.  

The program was conducted at an academic, multisite, community-based cancer institute in January 2013. The patient navigation program included regular in-person and virtual interactions and coordination of diagnosis, management, and follow-up. Adult patients who were diagnosed with first primary cancer between January 2013 and December 2014 were included (N = 2,308), and the researchers compared outcomes of those receiving patient navigation (n = 477) versus standard care (n = 1831). 

Patients with the following eight cancers with poor relative survival rates, per the American Cancer Society’s statistics, were included. 

  • Acute myeloid leukemia 
  • Esophageal cancer 
  • Liver cancer 
  • Lung cancer 
  • Myeloma 
  • Ovarian cancer 
  • Pancreatic cancer 
  • Stomach cancer 

The researchers used electronic medical records and tumor registry data to assess outcomes at 12 months. Within 12 months of diagnosis, 229 (28%) patients died: 25% in the patient navigation cohort and 30% in the standard care group (p = 0.13). Patient navigation resulted in a median 12-month survival of 355 days compared with 329 days for standard care (p = 0.06). Standard care also resulted in greater odds of mortality at 12 months (hazard ratio = 1.34; 95% confidence interval = 1.01–1.78). 

The researchers concluded, “[Patients receiving patient navigation] had improved 12-month survival. Further research is needed to confirm long-term survival and value proposition benefit and explore subgroup differences.”