Patient Navigation for Breast and Colorectal Cancer Treatment: A Randomized Trial

Corresponding Author: Kevin Fiscella, MPH, 1381 South Ave, Rochester, NY 14620. .
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention (Impact Factor: 4.13). 10/2012; 21(10):1673-81. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-12-0506
Source: PubMed


There is limited high-quality evidence about the impact of patient navigation (PN) on outcomes for patients with diagnosed cancer.
We pooled data from two sites from the national Patient Navigation Research Program. Patients (n = 438) with newly diagnosed breast (n = 353) or colorectal cancer (n = 85) were randomized to PN or usual care. Trained lay navigators met with patients randomized to PN to help them assess treatment barriers and identify resources to overcome barriers. We used intent-to-treat analysis to assess time to completion of primary treatment, psychologic distress (impact of events scale), and satisfaction (patient satisfaction with cancer-related care) within 3 months after initiation of cancer treatment.
The sample was predominantly middle-aged (mean age = 57) and female (90%); 44% were race-ethnic minorities (44%), 46% reported lower education levels, 18% were uninsured, and 9% reported a non-English primary language. The randomized groups were comparable in baseline characteristics. Primary analysis showed no statistically significant group differences in time to completion of primary cancer treatment, satisfaction with cancer-related care, or psychologic distress. Subgroup analysis showed that socially disadvantaged patients (i.e., uninsured, low English proficiency, and non-English primary language) who received PN reported higher satisfaction than those receiving usual care (all P < 0.05). Navigated patients living alone reported greater distress than those receiving usual care.
Although the primary analysis showed no overall benefit, the subgroup analysis suggests that PN may improve satisfaction with care for certain disadvantaged individuals. Impact: PN for cancer patients may not necessarily reduce treatment time nor distress. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 21(10); 1673-81. ©2012 AACR.

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    • "Primary care requires expertise and roles that are different from the traditional biomedical model. For example, new roles such as patient navigators [37-39] have been developed to address gaps in chronic disease management. These new roles may have an impact on outcomes and effectiveness [39-41], and could reduce health disparities [41-44]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Our randomized controlled trial (The BETTER Trial) found that training a clinician to become a Prevention Practitioner (PP) in family practices improved chronic disease prevention and screening (CDPS). PPs were trained on CDPS and provided prevention prescriptions tailored to participating patients. For this embedded qualitative study, we explored perceptions of this new role to understand the PP intervention. We used grounded theory methodology and purposefully sampled participants involved in any capacity with the BETTER Trial. Two physicians and one coordinator in each of two cities (Toronto, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta) conducted eight individual semi-structured interviews and seven focus groups. We used an interview guide and documented research activities through an audit trail, journals, field notes and memos. We analyzed the data using the constant comparative method throughout open coding followed by theoretical coding. A framework and process involving external and internal practice facilitation using the new role of PP was thought to impact CDPS. The PP facilitated CDPS through on-going relationships with patients and practice team members. Key components included: 1) approaching CDPS in a comprehensive manner, 2) an individualized and personalized approach at multiple levels, 3) integrated continuity that included linking the patients and practices to CPDS resources, and 4) adaptability to different practices and settings. The BETTER framework and key components are described as impacting CDPS through a process that involved a new role, the PP. The introduction of a novel role of a clinician within the primary care practice with skills in CDPS could appropriately address gaps in prevention and screening.
    BMC Family Practice 04/2014; 15(1):66. DOI:10.1186/1471-2296-15-66 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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    • "Suggested interventions to ameliorate disparities have included counseling, health education, and PN (Blackman & Masi 2006). Such interventions, applied correctly and in a timely fashion to specific target populations (Ramirez et al. 2012) and clinical challenges (Freeman 2012; Fiscella et al. 2012; Battaglia et al. 2012; Paskett et al. 2012) should streamline the continuum of cancer care from screening through survivorship. "
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    ABSTRACT: Time delay after an abnormal screening mammogram may have a critical impact on tumor size, stage at diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and survival of subsequent breast cancer. This study was undertaken to evaluate disparities between Latina and non-Hispanic white (NHW) women in time to definitive diagnosis of breast cancer after an abnormal screening mammogram, as well as factors contributing to such disparities. As part of the activities of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded Redes En Acción research network, clinical records of 186 Latinas and 74 NHWs who received abnormal screening mammogram results were reviewed to determine the time to obtain a definitive diagnosis. Data was obtained from participating clinics in six U.S. cities and included demographics, clinical history, and mammogram characteristics. Kaplan-Meier estimates and Cox proportional hazards models were used to test differences in median time to definitive diagnosis by ethnicity after adjusting for clinic site, demographics, and clinical characteristics. Time-to-event analysis showed that Latinas took 2.2 times longer to reach 50% definitively diagnosed with breast cancer relative to NHWs, and three times longer to reach 80% diagnosed (p=0.001). Latinas’ median time to definitive diagnosis was 60 days compared to 27 for NHWs, a 59% gap in diagnosis rates (adjusted Hazard Ratio [aHR] = 1.59, 95% CI = 1.09, 2.31; p=0.015). BI-RADS-4/5 women’s diagnosis rate was more than twice that of BI-RADS-3 (aHR = 2.11, 95% CI = 1.18, 3.78; p=0.011). Disparities in time between receipt of abnormal screening result and definitive diagnosis adversely affect Latinas compared to NHWs, and remain significant after adjusting for demographic and clinical variables. With cancer now the leading cause of mortality among Latinos, a greater need exists for ethnically and culturally appropriate interventions like patient navigation to facilitate Latinas’ successful entry into, and progression through, the cancer care system.
    SpringerPlus 02/2013; 2(1):84. DOI:10.1186/2193-1801-2-84
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    ABSTRACT: Rural residence is associated with disparities in cancer-related outcomes. Guided by the Chronic Care Model (CCM), the Rural Oncology Literacy Enhancement Study (ROLES) assessed health literacy and patient navigation needs among rural cancer patients. A mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) approach was used, including: in-depth interviews, health literacy assessments, and phone surveys with cancer patients (N = 53) from 5 oncology clinics in rural Wisconsin; focus groups and self-administered surveys with staff (N = 41) in these clinics. Within four dimensions of the CCM (community resources, self-management support, delivery system design, and decision support), this study uncovered multiple unmet navigation needs, health literacy limitations, and barriers to quality cancer care. System-level implementation of patient navigation and health literacy best practices could contribute to improved cancer care and patient outcomes among rural populations. Further research identifying effective interventions that reduce cancer disparities among rural cancer patients is necessary.
    Journal of Cancer Education 06/2013; 28(3). DOI:10.1007/s13187-013-0505-x · 1.23 Impact Factor
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