December in the U.S. brings with it cooler temperatures, myriad folks trying to play catch-up, and time to give pause - to reflect on what brought us to where we are, and what the next year may have in store.
Regarding Patient Navigation, let's start in 1990, when the concept of Patient Navigation was founded and pioneered by Dr. Harold Freeman for the purpose of eliminating barriers to timely cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care. At this time, Dr. Freeman established the nation's first Patient Navigation program at Harlem Hospital Center in NYC. Since its inception, PN has grown.
Since then, slowly but surely, Patient Navigation has been gaining momentum as a valued and successful component of chronic patient care. Articles are popping up exponentially touting the benefits of PN and enumerating stories of those whose lives were positively affected by the care of a Patient Navigator.
Fast-forward from its inception in 1990 to 2012, when the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer issued new standards, requiring cancer centers to provide patient navigation services by January 2015. As such, countless positions have been added to hospitals and care centers nationwide.
Take a look at this 'Patient Navigation Job Trends' chart from Indeed.com :
While definitions of PN may vary slightly from person to person, and PN programs can be implemented in different ways, and the responsibilities of Patient Navigators change slightly from hospital to community center to private office, from state to state, country to country... the news is the same. People with chronic diseases benefit tremendously from the care of a Patient Navigator; PN programs positively affect hospitals' bottom line; Patient Navigation saves lives.
January 1, 2015, is just a few weeks away. The CoC standards will be in full effect, and it is exciting to imagine where that will take Patient Navigation!
What are your thoughts on the future of Patient Navigation? Be it nurse navigators, lay navigators, care coordinators, etc., how do you see Patient Navigation growing and changing to fit the growing needs of the growing population living with chronic diseases? Let us know! Let's continue the conversation, just as Patient Navigation continues to gain strength heading into the New Year...