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HOW PATIENT NAVIGATION BOOSTS HEALTHCARE

Getting timely help to offset workloads and increase efficiency

Overview

Lay patient navigators can help offset up to approximately 25 percent of case managers’ non-clinical tasks, increasing efficiency so they can work at the top of their licenses. This Accenture and Highmark Foundation data shows a role for lay patient navigators on a well-balanced healthcare team of doctors, nurses, case managers, health and care navigators, and community health workers among others.

Unlike nurses, case managers, or clinical patient navigators who are healthcare professionals skilled in clinical tasks, “lay patient navigators” are community members who are trained to help people manage non-clinical barriers—financial, logistical, emotional, cultural and communications—that can lead patients to deviate from their care plan. As one patient explains, “Talking to you has lifted the pressure off me and put everything in perspective.”

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Background

Accenture worked with the Highmark Foundation to develop lay patient navigation pilot programs in three Western Pennsylvania hospitals, targeting priority areas and patient populations based on health needs of the communities.

Results of data collection from these pilots from July 2013 to March 2014 show that lay patient navigators can impact health outcomes and bottom line performance in priority areas that are significant business challenges for many hospitals.

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Analysis

The use of task shifting to integrate lay patient navigators into clinical care teams was a key contributor to general improvements in productivity and patient care in Pennsylvania. The use of lay patient navigation to help streamline how clinical care teams work offers numerous benefits—reducing the burden of overwork, improving patient adherence and experience, creating cost savings and improving health outcomes.

What’s more, experience shows that the most effective lay navigators are those that live and work in the communities that patients do. When patients and navigators share experiences, cultures, languages and values, navigators are better positioned to help combat patients’ distrust in the healthcare system.

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Recommendations

Patient care goes beyond tangible clinical or administrative tasks. It’s also about the intangibles—empathy when people need it most and direction when they feel lost in the healthcare system. The addition of lay patient navigators to clinical care teams allows health workers to treat the whole person. That’s a win-win-win for caregivers, hospitals and patients in productivity, bottom-line performance and health outcomes.

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Accenture-Thumb-One-On-One-Connections

One-on-one connections make all the different Lay patient navigators made important personal connections with patients and their families as part of a pilot program in there Western Pennsylvania hospitals.

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