Health system navigation has developed a strategy that will improve the outcomes in vulnerable areas through the elimination of facts that can prevent timely treatment of cancer as well as other chronic illnesses. The U.S. healthcare system is incredibly complex; patients encounter challenges in navigating this complexity at multiple levels. Accessing health insurance coverage, finding a primary care physician, understanding a new diagnosis, coordinating care among various providers, and comprehending instructions for follow-up care are just a few examples of these challenges. For patients with minimal resources or low health literacy, challenges can be even greater. Patient advocacy is a growing profession aimed at providing support for patients and caregivers at various points in the healthcare continuum.
According to the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates, advocates for patients are known by a variety of terms, including "health advocates, patient or health navigators, case or care managers, doulas and others" (http://www.aphadvocates.org/). In all cases, the advocate works with an individual patient, his/her family, and caregiver(s) to achieve an outcome. While there are certificates available in patient advocacy, there are currently no national certifications or licensures for professional patient advocates. A common thread in this module's readings is the significance of understanding patient characteristics. Ronnebaum & Schmer (2015) highlight the importance of patients' cultural beliefs and values, as well as patients' socioeconomic conditions and health literacy, in shaping the advocacy approach. Similarly, in her discussion of behavioral economics, Lee (2015) stresses that the effectiveness of efforts to promote healthy behavior are contingent on the extent to which the patient's perspective and overall social context are considered. The essential purpose of this paper is to discuss healthcare navigators activities, their metrics and to evaluate efforts being made by the program.
There is a very important need required to address health disparities for the poor, weak and vulnerable populations that may be defined by being under educated, illiterate, low income, inadequate insurance, or racial minority / ethnic status. Many attempts have been made to focus on the social determinants of the patients health, this rests on the notion that the magnitude caused by disparity of health outcome affects different racial groups and ethnic groups. This implies that modified medicine to address genetic risks alone will not eliminate the concept of health disparities, but rather the systems interventions will improve healthcare access and delivery which are very crucial to improving the patients health of the entire nation. Despite the fact that there are very many important efforts made to increase equality in the United States systems of healthcare, not all the American citizens have equal access to health care or any similar kind of health outcomes.
Although, lowering health costs and increasing healthcare access is our goal, our nations new healthcare has reformed other legislative measures. This measures include: certain measures that expand the patients health insurance coverage to those who are uninsured or underinsured, promote as well as support medical homes. This measures may help the systems to narrow down or lower the healthcare disparities in the United States. In addition to that, most of the patients with vulnerable abilities, continue to face a lot of difficulty while accessing care as well as navigating health care delivery systems (Freund, 2011). The main aim of this article is to explore the very unique roles that can be played by a patients navigation system in improving healthcare delivery outcomes in racial minorities on the framework of an altering healthcare environment. Apart from navigating improved healthcare access, they can also expose issues related to the concept of distrust in healthcare providers that some of which often lead to avoidance and negligence of health problems as well as non compliance with recommendations in treatment. Through addressing of many healthcare disparities associated with race, ethnicity, cultural difference, and language healthcare navigators can foster trust and empower it within their very own communities.
Strategies currently in place that shows or do not show healthcare navigation works
In 1989 a cancer research institute conducted several research studies in different cities in America. Basically, it tested most of the poor Americans who had been diagnosed with cancer. However, the results concluded the following issues confronted the poor Americans who had been diagnosed with cancer.
The poor people face a lot of barriers in receiving cancer healthcare treatments and most often they dont seek any kind of healthcare if they cant afford the payments. Also their families make a lot of sacrifices for them to ensure that they have received care. Most of the educational programs about cancer are usually insensitive about the poor peoples culture as well as irrelevant. In our report we also saw that most of the poor population in America (Green et al. 2005).
From these findings the patients health navigation system expanded entirely to be applied in the healthcare range. This includes: to prevent, to detect, to diagnose, to treat and to survive till the life ends. For instance in the case of cancer, a combined intervention of patient navigation and low or free costs of cancer screening resulted into a significant increase in the early stages of cancer treatment and diagnosis which marked an increase in the chances of survival for the poor people as well as the uninsured black people (Green et al. 2005).
How does the profession address health navigation system?
The health navigation system training offers a collaborative full curriculum that is designed to build navigators knowledge and skills. The system trains experienced and new navigators according to the level of courses they choose. Ultimately, the training is offered by instructors and experts who help the patient navigators or the health navigators to navigate new skills and knowledge. Patient navigation systems trains the navigators to maintain a professional relationship while in work, coordination and promotion skills.
This article proposes that health navigation system holds promises that address patients healthcare needs to the vulnerable population or the poor population and bridges the gaps created by healthcare disparities in the America (Freund, 2011). Currently, if the navigation system is more likely to be marketed, as well as found in health systems that are marketing and targeting educated, insured and employed patients it might widen the disparity gap rather than shortening it. Because very few systems have adequate resources to support this argument. On a clear note, there is need to watch that all resources are provided to different institutions if we need to address the challenges being faced by the vulnerable population.
Allen, S., Bombardieri, M., Rezendes, M., Farragher, T., Kowalczyk, L., & Krasner, J. (2008). A healthcare system badly out of balance. Boston Globe.
Freund, K. M. (2011). Patient navigation: The promise to reduce health disparities. Journal of general internal medicine, 26(2), 110-112.
Green, E. H., Freund, K. M., Posner, M. A., & David, M. M. (2005). Pap smear rates among Haitian immigrant women in eastern Massachusetts. Public health reports, 120(2), 133.
Hong, C. S., Atlas, S. J., Chang, Y., Subramanian, S. V., Ashburner, J. M., Barry, M. J., & Grant, R. W. (2010). Relationship between patient panel characteristics and primary care physician clinical performance rankings. Jama, 304(10), 1107-1113.
Lee, J. (2015). Behavioral economics. In D. B. Nash, R. J. Fabius, A. Skoufalos, & J. L. Clarke (Eds.), Population health: Creating a culture of wellness (2nd ed.). (pp. 153-165). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Richards, M. A., Westcombe, A. M., Love, S. B., Littlejohns, P., & Ramirez, A. J. (1999). Influence of delay on survival in patients with breast cancer: a systematic review. The Lancet, 353(9159), 1119-1126.
Ronnebaum, E. D., & Schmer, C. (2015). Patient advocacy and the Affordable Care Act: The growing need for nurses to be culturally aware. Open Journal of Nursing, 5, 237-245. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojn.2015.53028
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