Patient Navigators Play Key Role in Improving Quality, Lowering Costs

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Integrating patient navigation into healthcare delivery presents an opportunity to improve quality and lower costs, according to a report by the Center for Health Affairs, an organization representing Northeast Ohio hospitals.

The report, "The Emerging Field of Patient Navigation: A Golden Opportunity to Improve Healthcare," describes the importance of patient navigators — individuals whose role is to guide patients through the health system and help them overcome barriers to care. The potential benefits of patient navigators include improved health outcomes, increased patient satisfaction, decreased no-show rates and reduced disparities in care.

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These benefits in turn can help hospitals avoid revenue loss and increase revenue, according to the report. For instance, patient navigators can guide patients through transitions of care, which can reduce readmissions and avoid cuts to hospitals' Medicare payments. In addition, improving patient satisfaction can help hospitals meet value-based purchasing program goals and receive shared savings.

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