Healthcare System Navigators not only facilitate improved healthcare access and quality for clients through advocacy and care coordination, but also address deep-rooted issues related to distrust in providers and the health system that often lead to avoidance of health problems and non-compliance with treatment recommendations.
Healthcare systems are laden with complexity. Navigators, who operate best in their local environment, are brokers with the ability to confront health system and environmental barriers that tend to disproportionately burden racial and ethnic minorities. These barriers include financial issues, paperwork and documentation, cultural beliefs and language barriers, as well as issues related to transportation, childcare, and neighbourhood resources.
Healthcare System Navigators, therefore, may play a critical role in coordinating access to a comprehensive continuum of services by tailoring their assistance to help vulnerable patients identify a medical home, by facilitating communication and cooperation between providers, and by providing the patient education and support necessary to increase access to care and their ability to comply with prescribed therapies.
Navigators have the unique opportunity to establish trust with patients and are the link that will help to extend that trust from the patient/navigator relationship to the larger healthcare system. In conjunction with increasing utilisation of medical and screening services, navigation services have been shown to decrease the anxiety associated with medical treatment and increase patient satisfaction with services.
In doing so, navigators play an integral role in the changing environment of healthcare delivery, with the potential to help in delivering better quality and more efficient care and ensuring that access to care is for all. Healthcare System Navigation is a tool in the healthcare delivery armamentarium that can help to narrow health disparities in the new era of Canadian healthcare reform.
Visit www.in4med.ca to book your Healthcare System Navigation consultation.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.