Has Navigation Grown Up to be Care Coordination?

Posted by Cam McClellan Teems

July 28, 2015 at 1:00 PM


Has the traditional term "navigation,” coined by Dr. Freeman in oncology, grown up to now be coined as "care coordination"?  We think so.  Will your internal nomenclature change at your facility or Cancer Center?


Here is the AHRQ definition of "care coordination" for your review:

"Care coordination is the deliberate organization of patient care activities between two or more participants (including the patient) involved in a patient's care to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health care services. Organizing care involves the marshalling of personnel and other resources needed to carry out all required patient care activities and is often managed by the exchange of information among participants responsible for different aspects of care." -AHRQ, Chapter 2. What is Care Coordination?, Care Coordination Measures Atlas Update

Components of Care Coordination vs. What we Knew as Navigation: Eerily Similar

Consideration of views from these three potentially different perspectives is likely to be important for measuring care coordination comprehensively, per AHRQ.  They are:

  • Patient/Family Perspective. Patients, their families, and other informal caregivers experience failures in coordination particularly at points of transition.
  • Health Care Professional(s) Perspective. Care coordination is a patient- and family-centered, team-based activity designed to assess and meet the needs of patients, while helping them navigate effectively and efficiently through the health care system. Clinical coordination involves determining where to send the patient next (e.g., sequencing among specialists), what information about the patient is necessary to transfer among health care entities, and how accountability and responsibility is managed among all health care professionals (doctors, nurses, social workers, care managers, supporting staff, etc.).
  • System Representative(s) Perspective. Care coordination is the responsibility of any system of care (e.g., "accountable care organization [ACO]") to deliberately integrate personnel, information, and other resources needed to carry out all required patient care activities between and among care participants (including the patient and informal caregivers). The goal of care coordination is to facilitate the appropriate and efficient delivery of health care services both within and across systems.


See the AHRQ Figure 1 - Care Coordination Ring designed to illustrate Care Coordination and its Stakeholders



Image Source

Topics: Accountable Care, Navigation & Care Coordination

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