The Patient Navigator program (mentioned earlier today) sounds like a good idea, but like many such an idea when government funding is involved, it appears that holding meetings and publishing research on those meetings will account for too much of the expenditure. This article mentions $25 Million, but that’s over 5 years:
Despite the disagreement on the conceptualization of patient navigation, researching its effectiveness within the cancer care system is a focus of NCI’s Patient Navigator Research Program. The program describes patient navigation as supporting and guiding the patient with cancer and/or the patient’s family from the time of abnormal finding to the completion of cancer treatment . The roles and responsibilities of patient navigators extend beyond scheduling appointments and coordinating insurance to include community education and outreach, forming partnerships, and encouraging clinical trials participation. Research focused on evaluating the effectiveness of patient navigation will provide data to determine if patient navigator programs can reduce cancer health disparities.
(More at this press briefing on the “first Patient Navigator Academy,” where navigators were able to “communicate and build networks.”)
Private and community funds are being donated for the actual patient navigator programs in hospitals and cancer screening and treatment programs.
Athens, Ohio is supporting the local hospital’s American Cancer Society’s navigator program through a “Relay for Life.”
Avon (Cosmetics) Foundation has donated $250,000 to the Southern Illinois Healthcare breast cancer screening and treatment program to upgrade the mammography equipment (good!) for patient navigators and babysitters for the clients.
The United Way in Springfield, Illinois has donated $28,000 to that city’s American Cancer Society’s patient navigator program.
The Patient Navigator system may help prevent some medical errors that result from patients who get lost to follow up because they misunderstand or cannot follow doctors’ advice due to money problems or other barriers such as transportation and childcare.
Wouldn’t the money be better spent training nurses and doctors and/or paying us for the time that we and our staffs spend doing this work?