The world of nurse navigation is growing and changing.  If you go to job site and search “Nurse Navigator” you’ll see:

  • Heart Failure Navigator
  • Oncology Nurse Navigator
  • Women’s Health Nurse Navigator
  • Nurse Navigator – Interventional GI
  • Orthopedic Nurse Navigator
  • Remote Telehealth Nurse Navigator
  • and many more

If these search results are any barometer on the expansion of the nurse navigator role, we are on our way to adding the role in many other complex diseases and high-acuity settings. That’s a good thing, in our view.

In a recent article called “What’s Your Orthopedic Patient Navigation Strategy”, the author said, “Nurse Navigators are widely used and now showing benefits in multiple areas of the healthcare system beyond oncology, from colonoscopy scheduling to chronic diseases…”

We see these navigators go by many other names, including Lay Navigator, Care Coordinator, Care Manager, Ambulatory Care Coordinator or Health Coach.

They are also fast becoming an integral part of population health efforts. Take Reid Hospital, for example. To connect deeper with patients, Reid Hospital repurposed some of its RN case managers to work in the health system’s physician practices. They engage with a subset of patients that have higher than average resource consumption and emergency department use, as well as an increased likelihood to be admitted to the hospital. The case managers — called disease or transition navigators depending on whether they help patients manage their chronic condition or successfully traverse different levels of care — connect with patients in person, striving to understand and resolve each individual’s unique barriers to care.

Oncology has paved the way. Now let’s watch this evolution closely!

Give Cordata your feedback: Is your health system adding navigators for other disease areas or specific populations? Are they modeling the navigator role after their established role in oncology?