(HealthDay News) — Use of patient navigators (PNs) as inpatient care facilitators shortens hospital length of stay, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.
Janice L. Kwan, M.D., from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues evaluated a PN program’s effects on communication between patients and providers during general medical hospital admission (July 2010 through March 2014). PNs integrated as full members of the inpatient care team, but without clinical responsibilities.
The researchers found that over the study period, 5,628 admissions (4,592 patients) had a PN and 2,213 admissions (1,920 patients) did not have PNs. Admissions with PNs were significantly shorter than admissions without PNs (6.2 versus 7.5 days; P < 0.001). There was no difference in thirty-day readmission rates between the two groups (13.1 versus 13.8 percent; P = 0.48).
“Implementation of this intervention was associated with a reduction in length of stay without an increase in 30-day readmission,” the authors write.