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A Helping Hand

Navigators guide patients through complex medical journey

December 27, 2016 | Nancy Humphrey

Imagine trying to navigate an unfamiliar Medical Center with appointments sprinkled across numerous buildings, often on different days of the week. Now add a cancer diagnosis, and the emotions that come with that, and traversing unfamiliar surroundings becomes infinitely more difficult.

Your life has just been turned upside down and there’s much to do. There are appointments to coordinate and life-changing decisions to make. Life’s other challenges don’t go away either — jobs, taking care of children, grandchildren and homes.

Wouldn’t it be nice if cancer care was equipped with a GPS to help patients navigate such an emotionally charged and complicated time?

That’s exactly one of the thoughts behind Vanderbilt’s participation in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) new Oncology Care Model, which supports and encourages higher quality, more coordinated cancer care. One of the features of this model is an increase in patient navigators to help patients, many of whom are from out of state, through their complex medical journey.

Read more in Momentum magazine