BOSTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Patient navigation services -- help in maneuvering healthcare barriers -- decrease diagnosis time for patients with an abnormal screening, U.S. researchers say.
Lead author Dr. Tracy Battaglia, director of the Women's Health Unit at Boston University Medical Center and associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said the Boston Patient Navigation Research Program was conducted at six federally qualified inner-city community health centers from 2004 to 2008.
Patient navigation services include identifying patients at risk for delays in treatment and addressing barriers that may interfere with care -- including child care and transportation services; coordinating care among numerous providers; organizing interpreter services; and providing guidance and support so patients can advocate for themselves.
During the study period, 1,497 female subjects received patient navigation services and 1,544 were in the control group. All study participants were tracked for one year to document whether all recommended tests were completed and women received a diagnosis of cancer or no cancer.
The study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found women who received navigation services were diagnosed in significantly less time and were more likely to complete their care, compared to the control subjects.