Patient navigators are health care professionals who foster connections between cancer patients, their families, and the resources necessary to address the educational, emotional, and financial needs that come with a diagnosis.
It is a strategy which eliminates barriers for people who don't have the knowledge or the resources to move rapidly through the healthcare system to earlier diagnosis and full treatment. Navigators work to erase structural barriers to care and enhance knowledge by coaching patients and families.
The Patient Navigator initiative was created and is sustained with the generous support of the Kansas Masonic Foundation. It is operated through the Midwest Cancer Alliance, a cancer networking and clinical trials organization administered by the University of Kansas Cancer Center. One of the alliance's goals is to facilitate advanced treatment for cancer patients as close to their homes as possible.
The MCA Patient Navigator exists to promote awareness of patient navigation as a system by which a team of trained health professionals proactively guide patients through the community healthcare system to get the care they need. This is accomplished by developing and enhancing access to patient navigator resources and supporting Midwest Cancer Alliance partners statewide as they develop their community-specific systems.
In this model, the MCA navigator serves members of the network and community at large, not just patients seen by a singular practice, to enhance connection with multiple resources and create partnerships within the region and nation.