From 2013 to 2015, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System hired non-licensed staff to help high-cost and high-risk cancer patients navigate the medical system and their treatments as part of their Patient Care Connect Program (PCCP). The patient navigators specifically linked patients with resources, improved care coordinated, anticipated their health needs, and encouraged patients to play a more active role in healthcare decision-making.
Using Medicare claims data from 2012 to 2015, UAB researchers found that the patient navigation program reduced cancer care costs and resource use. The healthcare cost savings stemmed from inpatient and outpatient cost reductions at $294 and $275 per patient, respectively — although inpatient costs declined more dramatically for navigated cancer patients. The mean quarterly cost decline for navigated cancer patients was $522 per quarter per patient versus just $198 per quarter per non-navigated patient.
The study uncovered the following resource use reductions for navigated patients compared to non-navigated patients:
- Emergency department visits declined by an additional 6 percent per quarter
- Hospitalizations dropped by an additional 7.9 percent per quarter
- ICU admissions went down by an additional 10 percent per quarter
Now, are you still thinking you cannot afford to add navigators/care coordinators to your team....?