Original Report

Impact of nurse navigation on timeliness of diagnostic medical services in patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer


Background The Summa Cancer Institute in Akron, Ohio, sought to improve access to and the timeliness of lung cancer care by hiring an oncology-certified nurse navigator. The nurse navigator was charged with coordinating diagnostic procedures and specialty oncology consultations, and with facilitating a multidisciplinary thoracic oncology tumor board.

Objective To test the hypothesis that nurse navigation would improve the timeliness of and access to diagnostic medical services among men and women with newly diagnosed lung cancer.

Methods A conducted a retrospective review of 460 patients with lung cancer to evaluate access to care and the timeliness of the care received in the non-navigated and nurse-navigated cohorts.

Results During December 2009-September 2013, the time between the suspicion of cancer on chest X-ray to treatment was 64 days. During October 2013-March 2014, the nurse navigator helped reduce that timespan to 45 days (P < .001).

Limitations Long-term follow-up on clinical outcomes remains premature.

Conclusion This finding attests to the successful implementation of nurse navigation to improve access and timeliness of lung cancer care in a community oncology practice.

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