Thursday, April 10, 2014

Profiles In Patient Navigation: Jeffrey Nguyen

Patient Navigators wear different hats, carry different titles, and assume different responsibilities. The one common thread that weaves throughout each and every navigator's role is that of removing barriers to care for those with chronic diseases. In our efforts to spread the word on how multi-faceted and incredibly important Patient Navigation is, we at the HP Freeman PNI will be featuring profiles on different prominent figures in this lifesaving field.

Meet Jeffrey Nguyen.

What is your title/job description?
Manager, New York Hospital Queens Cancer Center Patient Navigation.
A new cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. As a Patient Navigator, my functions are to advocate for and guide patients throughout the course of their diagnosis and treatment. I strive to improve the patients’ experience and help them to actively participate in their own treatment and to reduce financial, language and cultural barriers.

What is your professional and educational background?
Masters in Social Work
Social Work Field Instructor, Certified by Hunter College School of Social Work

How did you become involved with Patient Navigation?
Patient Navigation is a new term for some. However, for me, for over sixteen years in a role of a healthcare administrator, helping patients has been the focus of my career. I helped patients and their caregivers to navigate through the complexity of multidisciplinary & multi-site healthcare systems -- connecting them to concrete services such as health insurance and housing, and providing emotional support. I also found that empowering patients to be active participants in their care by assisting them with communicating with their doctors is essential. I later found out this model was originated by Dr. Freeman, whom I admire and respect.

What is your relationship with the HPFPNI?
I attended the PN training at the PNI and was impressed with the guest speakers and the expertise of the staff members. I admire the work of Dr. Freeman and his original idea of Patient Navigation and wanted to get involved in some fashion.

Does your current job involve any aspects of Patient Navigation? Can you explain what a "regular workday" is for you?
As the manager of the Cancer Center Patient Navigation program, my day at the office revolves mostly around navigating patients. Currently I am helping patients whose mammographic results show abnormalities by referring them to further treatment, navigating inpatients, working with physicians, and supervising Masters-level social work students who are learning to become hospital Patient Navigators. I am also assisting the director of the Cancer Center to further develop the Patient Navigation program, including selecting a PN software package to facilitate the work of Patient Navigators.

Please offer us an anecdote from your PN experience of particular note that sticks with you, as perhaps an example of the importance of this role.
As a health care administrator who has the privilege of functioning as a Patient Navigator, I see Patient Navigation has many essential benefits: It reduces personal cost, prevents readmissions, decreases visits to ER, and -- most important of all -- produces greater health outcomes for patients. It also plays an important role in helping hospitals to cut costs and affords patients good experiences.
What are your thoughts on the future of Patient Navigation?
Patient Navigation is a lifesaving model. I see that it can and should exist in all disciplines. It has worked very well in the health field and I also see, with modifications, the navigation model can work very well in other large systems, such as schools and courts.

Anything additional you’d like to share with an audience that is considering getting certified in Patient Navigation via HPFPNI training?
I strongly recommend the HPFNI training. It will introduce you to the world of Patient Navigation and help you to understand clearly the role of a navigator: lay navigator, nurse navigator, or social work navigator. Whichever role you happen to take, the HPFPNI training will help you to get there. You will also receive useful resource materials and a starter kit that allow you to begin confidently as a navigator who is trained by the HPFPNI.

Jeffrey Nguyen
Manager, Patient Navigation
Cancer Center
New York Hospital Queens

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Patient Navigation Job Market Update

The field of Patient Navigation is growing exponentially. Across the Internet you'll find information in support of this:
Some 32 million people are expected to gain insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and many of them will have been without healthcare previously. They won't be simple cases, Karlene Kerfoot [vice president of nursing at API Healthcare] said. And many of them will also face socioeconomic challenges that are boosting demand for non-clinical healthcare jobs in community health, patient navigation and health IT.
~ Deanna Pogorelc, "Where patients go, healthcare jobs follow: In 2014, they’re shifting outside of the hospital," MedCity News, December 23, 2013
This emerging field [of Patient Navigation] is one that holds great promise, offering a win-win solution for many challenges faced by patients and healthcare providers. The patient experience is improved, healthcare professionals spend more time doing the work they were trained to do, and providers save money. At the same time navigation has the potential to provide a new employment avenue in a tightening job market. 
In the coming years, navigation will grow and evolve as more providers realize the value navigators bring to the healthcare team. Their role will become even more important as medical care becomes more advanced. Yet, despite the developments sure to come down the road, at its core will always be the navigators’ passion to care for people, their drive to go above and beyond, and their commitment to healthcare.
~ The Center for Health Affairs, Issue Brief: The Emerging Field of Patient Navigation,  December 2012
Frontline and nonclinical healthcare jobs are growing in number, complexity, and importance prompted by increased demand in the wake of the baby boom retirements, information technology innovation, and the Affordable Care Act. Typical positions include community health workers, medical assistants, medical office specialists, medical records technicians, office supervisors, and patient navigators—and these six positions are projected to add over 2 million new job openings this decade, with growth rates ranging from roughly 20 to 40%. 
Education and job requirements vary, but often demand some post-secondary education such as an associate degree, certificate, or sometimes a bachelor’s degree. These positions are taking on a broader set of work skills than their traditional roles often have in the past, requiring specific and technical communication and information skills, teamwork abilities, an increased understanding of the healthcare system, and information technology fluency....
The new role of patient representative or patient navigator is significantly broader and more complex than the traditional “customer service” roles of the past. These positions range from local or program-specific patient advocates who help cancer patients navigate through an increasingly complex menu of care, to the formal roles required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which “formalized and strengthened the role of patient navigators”... 
~ College for America, Workforce Strategy Report: Rise of the Medical Assistant and Five Other Frontline and Nonclinical Healthcare Jobs That Are Growing In Number, Complexity, and Importance, November 2013


Along with this sea change in healthcare employment has come a huge wave of both trained Patient Navigators and organizations (to include hospitals, community organizations, cancer centers, etc.) who need to fill positions. On a daily basis, we at the HPFPNI communicate with people looking for jobs in the field of Patient Navigation and it is our hope to help make connections in this lifesaving field. 

Visit us on LinkedIn and join our brand new Patient Navigation Job Hub! Here, you can virtually meet-and-greet with a targeted group of PN professionals: Post information on what kind of position you are looking for (along with your location/contact information/qualifications) OR, if you are hiring, definitely post information on the position and requirements!

Also, we have added a SimplyHired 'Patient Navigator' job search window to the homepage of this blog, in our efforts to make finding a job that much easier. Take a look!

Please let us know how we can help you make a Patient Navigation job connection. The HP Freeman PNI, led by Harold P. Freeman, the Founder of Patient Navigation, trains and certifies both clinical and lay Patient Navigators ~ and we want to make sure that we can remove any barriers to those searching and hiring!