Background: The specialized field of patient navigation (PN) is evolving into an essential role in the oncology patient care continuum. The rapidly changing landscape of “value-based” cancer care has increased the need of PN programs to measure, analyze, and report-out on patient satisfaction survey results. Currently, limited data with mixed results exist on the impact of PN programs as they pertain to the overall patient experience.1-3 Measuring the impact of a PN program on overall patient experience will demonstrate the value, efficacy, and sustainability of the growing field.
Objectives: To demonstrate the value, efficacy, and sustainability of the PN program and to identify key opportunities for improvement of a single PN program.
Methods: A team of 10 navigators from strategic locations across a large healthcare system volunteered to participate in the creation of a PN patient satisfaction survey tool. The team worked with leadership, the Office of Patient Experience, and Press Ganey Associates to develop a 12-question survey to measure patient satisfaction and identify key opportunities for improvement within the PN program. Survey questions comprised 3 multiple choice, 1 yes/no, and 8 formatted with a 5-point Likert scale. Each question also included an open text comment box. A link to the survey is sent via e-mail to patients within 2 to 6 weeks after initial referral to PN. Patients who transfer care before their initial appointment and lung cancer screening patients are excluded from the survey. Only surveys sent from a single PN program location were included in this current study.
Results: From July 1, 2017, to April 30, 2018, 419 patients were e-mailed the PN survey. A total of 56 surveys were returned, a rate of 13.4%. Positive findings include: 86% strongly agreed the navigator was friendly and helpful, and 75% strongly agreed that PN improved overall cancer care experience. Opportunities for improvement were found in providing education, as only 56% strongly agreed that education was provided in a manner easily understood. Multiple open text responses also found that patients desired an earlier introduction into PN services.
Conclusion: The PN patient satisfaction survey tool is still early in production. However, it has yielded timely information demonstrating the value, efficacy, and sustainability of PN and in identifying key opportunities for improvement. Discussions have begun as to how to use this feedback to improve services and increase patient satisfaction with cancer care.
- Pascal J-P. Effects of patient navigation on satisfaction with cancer care: a systematic review. J Clin Oncol. 2017;35(15 suppl). Abstract e18088.
- Post DM, McAlearney AS, Young GS, et al. Effects of patient navigation on patient satisfaction outcomes. J Cancer Educ. 2105;30:728-735.
- Ranaghan C, Boyle K, Meehan M, et al. Effectiveness of a patient navigator on patient satisfaction in adult patients in an ambulatory care setting: a systematic review. JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep. 2016;14(8):172-218.