In an oral presentation at the 2nd Annual Oncology Nurse Advisor Navigation Summit, Jean B. Sellers, RN, MSN, of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., outlined the critical first steps a health system must take in order to launch a successful community-driven nurse navigation program.
4 Keys to Implementing a Successful Patient Navigation Program
- Community Needs Assessment: The main driver of a navigation program, this report identifies the challenges faced by patients within the community and describes how a navigation program would palliate some of these issues.
- Infrastructure: Support of a navigation program has to start at the top and permeate throughout the organization; in addition to “a leader who understands navigation,” your program should involve feedback from representatives of IT, administration, and other clinical disciplines, Sellers recommends.
- Well-Defined Roles: A solid job description, well-executed standard operating procedures, policies, and a process flow map to guide the navigator as well as other clinicians involved in the patient’s care will also ensure a program’s success.
- Metrics: At the end of the day, numbers can prove a program’s success. A navigation program should result in reduced followups and stronger patient retention within the health care system, and ongoing feedback from patients and physicians through a customer satisfaction tool can help a program evolve with a community’s needs.