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Top Considerations for Choosing a Cancer Navigation Solution

In today’s healthcare landscape, cancer navigation acts as a compass that guides patients through their care journey. Cancer care navigation programs deliver personalized interventions that address barriers to care, promote timely access, and improve treatment coordination, starting with pre-diagnosis and continuing through all phases of the cancer journey, including survivorship and end-of-life. 

Cancer navigators provide patients with individualized guidance, emotional support, symptom monitoring, help with appointments, and advocacy for goal-concordant care. They also collaborate with provider teams, health plans, and community organizations to facilitate access, share information, and coordinate care delivery and appropriate social services. 


Current Challenges in Managing Cancer Care

Cancer patients are often overwhelmed by the challenges of accessing timely care, managing symptoms, and dealing with the emotional, physical, and financial impact of diagnosis and treatment. To keep patients top-of-mind, health plans and other risk-bearing groups face an additional set of challenges:

  • Complex, costly care | Cancer is one of the most complex and costly conditions to manage across a population, and care expenditures are 4xs higher for members with cancer.¹ 

  • Lack of integration | Most care programs work in silos that are separate from primary care providers (PCPs), and even oncologists, which is not effective. 

  • Unscalable solution | Few providers and patients have access to navigation services due to implementation and scalability challenges. 

However, collaborative cancer care navigation can support patients and care teams at pivotal touch points along the care journey while removing the psychosocial barriers that impede access and adherence.


What Health Plans and Risk-Bearing Entities Should Look For in a Cancer Navigation Solution

Effective navigation contributes to improved care quality, patient satisfaction, and reduced total cost of care. Studies consistently show that navigation programs reduce symptom burden, acute care utilization, and total costs while improving quality of life. In a study among Medicare Advantage patients with cancer, navigation programs can reduce total cost of care costs for those patients by nearly 20%.² 

Here are the top considerations health plans and risk-bearing entities should look for when evaluating cancer navigation solutions: 

  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Successful cancer navigation solutions must foster collaboration between primary care providers and oncologists to share clinical insights and coordinate care delivery as early in a cancer care journey as possible.

  • Patient-Centered Approach: Navigation services should segment their approach to meet the unique needs and preferences of each patient, ensuring personalized, whole-person care support throughout their journey.

  • Scalable Technology Solution: Leverage data-driven technology solutions that keep important information, such as patient-reported outcomes (PROs), to drive better decision-making and improve patient engagement.

  • Addressing Barriers to Care: Emphasis on social determinants of health (SDOH) makes an impact on patients’ quality of care (treatment, adherence, and health outcomes).

  • Deep Oncology Expertise: Curate care plans unique to the patient by working with oncology-trained providers and resource specialists who assist patients with clinical and non-clinical needs.

By adopting a cancer navigation solution that meets these standards, health plans and other risk-bearing entities can improve access, enhance patient outcomes, address barriers to care, and reduce the total cost of cancer care.


Bringing Cancer Navigation to Scale

To deliver the benefits of cancer navigation to as many cancer patients as possible, effective navigation programs need sophisticated technology, robust data, and a compassionate, oncology-focused care team. Thyme Care’s oncology management platform pairs human guidance with software and analytics to engage patients, connect them to the right care, and provide ongoing support through targeted interventions. At Thyme Care, we transform the cancer care experience through a unique care delivery model that guides and supports the entire member journey, improving access and outcomes while reducing the cost of care.

To explore Thyme Care’s solutions – contact us today, or learn more about how we work with our current partners here.



1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6778988/
2 https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-data-shows-thyme-care-navigation-program-reduces-total-cost-of-care-for-cancer-patients-by-nearly-20-301972537.html 


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