Patient navigation reduces delays in diagnostic resolution among patients with a Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) greater than 1 with abnormal findings on breast, cervical, colorectal, or prostate cancer screening, according to a study published in the journal Cancer.1
Whether patient navigation improves outcomes for patients with comorbidities is unclear. Therefore, researchers sought to evaluate the impact of comorbidities on the time to diagnostic resolution after an abnormal finding on cancer screening test and to assess whether patient navigation shortens time to diagnostic resolution.
For the study, investigators analyzed data from 6439 patients with abnormal findings on breast, cervical, colon, or prostate cancer screening tests between 2007 and 2011 who were included in the Patient Navigation Research Program.
Results showed that patients without navigation and a CCI score of 2 or greater had significantly delayed diagnostic resolution after an abnormal finding on cancer screening test compared with patients with no comorbidities.
However, patients with navigation had an improved time to diagnostic resolution for each CCI score level. Navigated patients with a CCI score of 1 reached diagnostic resolution more quickly than the control group with no comorbidities, while navigated patients with a CCI score of 2 or greater had no delays in diagnostic care as compared with control patients with no comorbidities.
The findings ultimately suggest that patients with multiple chronic diseases may achieve greater benefit from patient navigation after an abnormal finding on cancer screening test.
1. Whitley EM, Raich PC, Dudley DJ, et al. Relation of comorbidities and patient navigation with the time to diagnostic resolution after abnormal cancer screening. Cancer. 2016 Sep 20. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30316. [Epub ahead of print]