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Table 1 Patient navigator interventions with a focus on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer

From: The role of patient navigators in ambulatory care: overview of systematic reviews

Intervention Outcomes
Details of the intervention Profession(s) Population Countries Patient-related outcomes Health-system related outcomes Source
Patient navigation included facilitating communication with providers, outreach, assistance with appointments and scheduling, education, follow-up, counselling Intervention:
Patient, nurse, professional navigator
Comparison: Radiologists, physicians, breast surgeons
Cancer patients receiving care in ambulatory setting (incl. ethnic minority and minority women patients) CA, KR, US • Improved patient satisfaction in four out of four studies, statistically insignificant • Care coordination improved, statistically insignificant
• Shorter time to diagnosis, statistically insignificant
• [21]
Introduction of patient navigator to overcome obstacles such as language barriers, coordination of appointments, lack of transportation and insurance or difficulties to understand the follow-up process Intervention:
Lay persons, nurses with oncology experience, individual with master in social work
Not reported
Cancer patients from medically underserved populations, rural or urban area, uninsured persons, non-English speaking persons US • Improved adherence to follow-up • Earlier treatment and treatment initiation
• Significant improvements in diagnostic resolution
• [28]
Patient navigator intervention to improve screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in ethnic minority patients (e.g. scheduling appointments, outreach, assistance with transportation, telephone support) Intervention:
Nurses, lay health educators, lay health workers, NPs, community health aides, physicians
Not reported
Ethnic minority cancer patients US • Improved adherence to screening • Increased screening rates
• Improved completion of screening
• [16]
Patient navigation in breast cancer care involving non-health professionals (e.g. follow-up to screening and clinical breast abnormalities, education, counselling, referral, translation and scheduling) Intervention:
Breast cancer survivors, lay community health workers, nurse navigator in cooperation with lay navigator and social worker, lay workers
Professions not defined
Breast cancer patients (66% of sample were non-white women) CA, US • Improved adherence to breast screening and diagnostic follow-up (e.g. after abnormal radiographic screening, attending genetic counselling) • Reduced waiting time for biopsy/diagnostic intervals
• Decreased time to appointment with genetic counsellor
• [11]
Patient navigation interventions (in person or via phone) focussing on diagnosis and treatment of various types of cancer (e.g. barrier assessment, appointment scheduling, reminders, emotional support, education, liaison with providers) Intervention: Lay persons, peers, professional workers
Not reported
Patients with abnormal cancer screening results including mostly vulnerable patients US, AU • Increased diagnostic resolution
• Improved adherence to follow-up appointments
• Improved time to diagnosis • [12]
  1. Country abbreviations: AU Australia, CA Canada, KR Republic of Korea, US United States of America