Integration of a nurse navigator into the triage process for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer: creating systematic improvements in patient care
Nurse navigation is a developing facet of oncology care. The concept of patient navigation was originally created in 1990 at the Harlem Hospital Center in New York City as a strategy to assist vulnerable and socially disadvantaged populations with timely access to breast cancer care. Since the mid-1990s, navigation programs have expanded to include many patient populations that require specialized management and prompt access to diagnostic and clinical resources. Advanced non-small-cell lung cancer is ideally suited for navigation to facilitate efficient assessment in this fragile patient population and to ensure timely results of molecular tests for first-line therapy with appropriately targeted agents. At the BC Cancer Agency, nurse navigator involvement with thoracic oncology triage has been demonstrated to increase the proportion of patients receiving systemic treatment, to shorten the time to delivery of systemic treatment, and to increase the rate of molecular testing and the number of patients with molecular testing results available at time of initial consultation. Insights gained through the start-up process are briefly discussed, and a framework for implementation at other institutions is outlined.