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Keywords:

  • cost;
  • patient navigation;
  • disparities;
  • economic evaluation

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patient navigation is an intervention aimed at reducing barriers to health care for underserved populations as a means to reduce cancer health disparities. Despite the proliferation of patient navigation programs across the United States, information related to the economic impact and sustainability of these programs is lacking.

METHODS:

After a review of the relevant literature, the Health Services Research (HSR)-Cost workgroup of the American Cancer Society National Patient Navigator Leadership Summit met to examine cost data relevant to assessing the economic impact of patient navigation and to propose common cost metrics.

RESULTS:

Recognizing that resources available for data collection, management, and analysis vary, 5 categories of core and optional cost measures were identified related to patient navigator programs, including program costs, human capital costs, direct medical costs, direct non-medical costs, and indirect costs.

CONCLUSIONS:

Information demonstrating economic as well as clinical value is necessary to make decisions about sustainability of patient navigation programs. Adoption of these common cost metrics are recommended to promote understanding of the economic impact of patient navigation and comparability across diverse patient navigation programs. Cancer 2011;117(15 suppl):3616–623. © 2011 American Cancer Society.