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ABSTRACT: Patient navigation programs are initiated to help guide patients through barriers in a complex cancer care system. We sought to analyze the impact of our patient navigator program on the adherence to specific Breast Cancer Care Quality Indicators (BCCQI).
A retrospective cohort of patients with stage I-III breast cancer seen the calendar year prior to the initiation of the patient navigation program were compared with patients treated in the ensuing two calendar years. Quality indicators deemed appropriate for analysis were those associated with overcoming barriers to treatment and those associated with providing health education and improving patient decision-making.
A total of 134 consecutive patients between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2006 and 234 consecutive patients between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 were evaluated for compliance with the BCCQI. There was no significant difference in the mean age or race/ethnic distribution of the study population. In all ten BCCQI evaluated, there was improvement in the percentage of patients in compliance from pre and post implementation of a patient navigator program (range 2.5-27.0 %). Overall, compliance with BCCQI improved from 74.1 to 95.5 % (p < 0.0001). Indicators associated with informed decision-making and patient preference achieved statistical significance, while only completion axillary node dissection in sentinel node-positive biopsies in the process of treatment achieved statistical significance.
The implementation of a patient navigator program improved breast cancer care as measured by BCCQI. The impact on disease-free and overall survival remains to be determined.
Annals of Surgical Oncology 07/2012; 19(10):3251-6. · 4.12 Impact Factor