Navigation & the Healthcare System Course
Patient navigator introduction
The importance of patient navigation
A diagnosis of a chronic disease can be a devastating experience, and its treatment may be equally devastating. Patients seeking treatment for a serious illness can find the healthcare system to be confusing, disempowering, and inaccessible. A patient’s experience with the healthcare system or other life circumstances may cause patients to avoid or delay healthcare, their chances of survival drop and treatment becomes difficult and problematic.
Patient navigation helps patients get timely care. They work with patients individually to “navigate” the healthcare system and to help them overcome the barriers that keep them from getting timely care.
A patient navigator is someone who:
- identifies and reduces barriers to patient care
- helps patients find resources
- helps patients understand that it is important to get treatment quickly
Patient navigator services can be for any disease. Examples are heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and cancer.