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GW Cancer Institute Publishes Overview on Value of Patient Navigation for Community Cancer Centers

WASHINGTON (June 18, 2013) – A recently published paper by the George Washington University Cancer Institute (GWCI) addresses the value of patient navigation programs for community cancer centers.

The paper, titled “Community Cancer Center Administration and Support for Navigation Services,” was published in the journal, Seminars of Oncology Nurses. In the context of increasing financial constraints to the health care system, this paper offers an overview for community cancer centers seeking to assess their patient navigation program’s impact as a critical component of cancer care. This overview is a particularly important resource for nurses, as they often play a key role in working with administrators to define value metrics, track these measures, and report results.

The primary purpose of patient navigation is to eliminate barriers to timely care, ultimately improving health outcomes.  In their experience with implementation and evaluation of patient navigation programs, authors Mandi Pratt-Chapman, M.A., associate director of community programs at GWCI, and Anne Willis, M.A., director of the division of cancer survivorship at GWCI, found that patient navigation can also provide significant value at the institutional level. .

 “Patient navigation helps to mitigate some of the most troubling aspects of our health care system,” said Pratt-Chapman. “Not all individuals have benefited from advances in cancer care. Patient navigation provides critical support to patients who may not otherwise make it into or through cancer treatment  We want to help others demonstrate the  value of their patient navigation program to ensure patients continue to receive this much needed support.”

The paper cites examples of how patient navigation can help resolve barriers, such as communication hurdles, lack of information, and emotional challenges. It provides examples of how patient navigation can lead to improved service delivery and patient satisfaction. It also includes information on how community cancer centers can calculate return-on-investment for their patient navigation program, as well as information on the challenges to determining a program’s cost-effectiveness. The paper explains that the main benefits of a navigation program include: earlier diagnosis and improved treatment adherence, saving costs from no-show appointments, and patient retention.

 “Patient navigation requires an initial investment,” said Willis, “but that investment can pay for itself many times over through improved patient outcomes and true cost savings to community cancer centers.”

To read the full overview, please visit

For more information or to interview an author of the paper, please contact Lisa Anderson at or 202-994-3121.


About the George Washington University Cancer Institute (GWCI)

GWCI takes a comprehensive approach to a complex disease. In connection with the GW Hospital and the Medical Faculty Associates, GWCI provides for collaboration in the study, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Its mission is to ensure access to quality, patient-centered care across the cancer continuum through community engagement, patient and family empowerment, health care professional education, policy advocacy and collaborative multi-disciplinary research. More information about GWCI at:

About the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Founded in 1825, the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) was the first medical school in the nation’s capital and is the 11th oldest in the country. Working together in our nation’s capital, with integrity and resolve, the GW SMHS is committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national and global communities.