Organizations like ACS are working to address these disparities through patient navigation. Common cancer treatment challenges and patient navigation solutions include:
- Language barriers: Some patients do not speak or understand the language of their healthcare system. This can lead to miscommunication and frustration. Many patient navigators serve as translators.
- Lack of transportation: Some patients lack personal transportation and may have trouble with public options. This can lead to appointment delays. Patient navigators may coordinate transportation for appointments.
- Personal finances: Some patients live within tight budgets. This can limit their ability to cover out-of-pocket treatment costs. Patient navigators can help patients find and apply for financial support.
- Technology hurdles: Some patients do not have a home computer or regular internet access. This can make finding care difficult. Some patient navigators reach out to patients at places like the grocery store. They provide paper resources like pamphlets with contact information. This helps patients who lack technology resources use patient navigation.
Patient navigation services offer support for these and other treatment accessibility challenges. Research shows these efforts do help eliminate disparities in care.
Which Hospitals Are Receiving Patient Navigation Grants?
This round, 14 hospitals received grants for patient navigation in their cancer programs. These grants aim to strengthen these hospitals’ existing oncology patient navigation services. Other cancer centers and hospitals may receive grants as funding becomes available.
The hospitals receiving part of the 2022 grants are:
- Boston Medical Center (Boston, Massachusetts)
- City of Hope (Los Angeles, California)
- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (Seattle, Washington)
- Harris Health System (Houston, Texas)
- HIMA San Pablo Oncologico-Caguas (Caguas, Puerto Rico)
- Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)
- Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center (Bronx, New York)
- Rush University Medical Center (Chicago, Illinois)
- The University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
- The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
- University Of Alabama Birmingham (Birmingham, Alabama)
- University of Colorado Denver (Aurora, Colorado)
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
- VCU Massey Cancer Center (Richmond, Virginia)
The ACS grants give these cancer programs more resources for improving patient navigation. Alongside this funding, ACS will help the programs identify best practices to improve patient outcomes. Together, these efforts can help move toward ACS’ goal of ensuring all patients have “a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat and survive cancer.”