Background: Cancer care is described as insufficiently patient-centered, requiring improved accessibility and coordination. Breast oncology nurse navigators may help provide timely patient care by improving care coordination.
Objectives: This study evaluated a breast cancer navigation (BCN) program in a large ambulatory healthcare system. It examined measures related to quality and value, including timely service delivery, appropriate use of resources, and care coordination.
Methods: Using Lean methods, a BCN program focused on women receiving a breast biopsy was developed at a pilot site and later implemented throughout the healthcare system. Study data evaluated timely disclosure of biopsy results, prompt scheduling of initial consultations, outpatient use of cancer specialists, and coordination between primary care and oncology practices.
Findings: After implementing the BCN program, more timely biopsy results were delivered to patients. Patients were more likely to complete an initial consultation within two weeks of biopsy and made fewer outpatient visits. Referrals to cancer specialists within a month of biopsy increased, and primary care encounters with patients decreased.