Effect of patient navigation on satisfaction with cancer-related careedit
Purpose: Despite growing popularity of patient navigation (PN) as a means to improve cancer care quality and reduce cancer-related disparities, there are few well-designed controlled trials assessing the impact of PN on patient outcomes like satisfaction with care. The present controlled study examined effect of PN on satisfaction with cancer-related care. Methods: Patients who presented with a symptom or abnormal screening test (n = 1788) or definitive diagnosis (n = 445) of breast, cervical, colorectal, or prostate cancer from eight Patient Navigator Research Program sites were included in one of two groups: intervention (PN) or comparison (usual care or usual care plus cancer educational materials). Trained patient navigators met with intervention group participants to help them assess and identify resources to address barriers to cancer diagnostic or treatment care. Using a validated instrument, we assessed participants’ satisfaction with their cancer diagnostic or treatment care up to 3 months after diagnostic resolution of a cancer-related abnormality or within 3 months of initiation of cancer treatment. Results: Overall, patients reported high satisfaction with diagnostic care and cancer treatment. There were no statistically significant differences between PN and control groups in satisfaction with cancer-related care (p > 0.05). Hispanic and African American participants were less likely to report high satisfaction with cancer care when compared to White patients. Middle-aged participants with higher education, higher household income, private insurance, owning their own home, working full-time, and those whose primary language is English had higher satisfaction with cancer-related diagnostic care. Conclusions: PN had no statistically significant effect on patients’ satisfaction with cancer-related care. Further research is needed to define the patient populations who might benefit from PN, content of PN that is most useful, and services that might enhance PN.