Patient navigation, trained individualized assistance that guides patients, families and caregivers through a complex care system, is one of the only evidence-based interventions to eliminate health disparities and improve health equity across the cancer continuum. A new supplement to the journal Cancer, “A Decade Later: The State of Patient Navigation in Cancer Care” published [June 14] by the National Navigation Roundtable (NNRT) includes 13 free articles outlining the impact of patient navigation and the critical role it plays in improving outcomes for cancer patients.

Articles include: 

  • Collective Pursuit for Equity in Cancer Care: The National Navigation Roundtable
    • Andrea J Dwyer, B.S. University of Colorado; Chair, NNRT, et al.
  • Barriers and Opportunities to Measuring Oncology Patient Navigation Impact: A National Survey
    • Tracy Battaglia, MD, MPH, Boston University Schools of Medicine & Public Health; Advisor to the Chair, NNRT, et al.
  • Evaluating Sustainability of Patient Navigation Programs in Oncology by Length of Existence, Funding, and Payment Model Participation
    • Kathryn Garfield, JD, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, Harvard Law School, NNRT Steering Committee, et al.
  • Comparing Clinical and Non-clinical Cancer Patient Navigators: A National Study in the United States
    • Kristen J. Wells, PhD, MPH, San Diego State University, et al.
  • Flexibility, Adaptation and Roles of Patient Navigators in Oncology during COVID-19 
    • Patricia Valverde, Ph., MPH, Colorado School of Public Health, NNRT Steering Committee, et al.
  • Using Latent Class Analysis to Develop Classes of Patient Navigators and Examine Differences in Navigator Job Retention
    • Cristian Garcia-Alcaraz, MA, San Diego State University, et al.
  • The American Cancer Society and Patient Navigation: Past and Future Perspectives
    • Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, American Cancer Society, et al.
  • Lessons learned in Establishing a Health Profession: The Community Health Worker Association Perspective
    • Carl H. Rush, MRP, Community Resources, LLC, et al.
  • Solidifying roles, responsibilities, and the process of navigation across the continuum of cancer care: The Professional Oncology Navigation Task Force Perspective.
    • Elizabeth Franklin, PhD., MSW, Cancer Support Community, Cancer Policy Institute, NNRT Steering Committee, et al.
  • Project SUPPORT (Socio-legal Services for Underserved Populations through Patient Navigation to Optimize Resources during Treatment)
    • Tracy A. Battaglia, MD MPH, Boston University Schools of Medicine & Public Health; Advisor to the Chair, NNRT, et al.
  • What Makes for Successful Patient Navigation Implementation in Cancer Prevention and Screening Programs Using an Evaluation and Sustainability Framework
    • Andrea J Dwyer, BS, University of Colorado; Chair, NNRT, et al.
  • Development of a workflow process mapping toolkit to inform the implementation of patient navigation programs in breast oncology
    • Nicole L Casanova, University of Washington School of Public Health, Department of Health Systems and Population Health, et al.
  • Change Agents in the Oncology Workforce: Let’s be Clear about Community Health Workers and Patient Navigators
    • Electra D. Paskett, PhD, Ohio State University, NNRT Steering Committee, et al.

Data shows the customized care provided through these programs decreases hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions; improves timely diagnostic follow-up; and increases scheduled appointment arrivals, adherence to recommended cancer screening and the likelihood treatment is initiated within 30 to 60 days from diagnosis.

Launched by the American Cancer Society (ACS) in 2017, the National Navigation Roundtable is a coalition of over 100 member organizations and individuals dedicated to achieving health equity and access to quality care across the cancer continuum through effective patient navigation. Collectively, the roundtable disseminates best practices and works on key issues that enhance the navigation field.

For more than 30 years, the ACS has been a leader in establishing patient navigation as a successful service delivery model for at-risk cancer patients through funding of extramural research and other strategic investments. This includes releasing the Report to the Nation on Cancer in the Poor in 1989 which established patient navigation as a path to ensuring access to quality care and supporting surgical oncologist Harold P. Freeman, MD, in creating the first patient navigation program in Harlem, New York in 1990. To assist safety net and other hospitals in establishing non-clinical navigation programs, ACS launched its first Patient Navigator Program in 2005.

Access the free supplement here:

Learn more about the National Navigation Roundtable here:


This article was originally published on DATE, by American Cancer Society. It is republished with permission.