Transl Behav Med. 2018 May 23;8(3):450-455. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibx078.
Association of patient navigation with care coordination in an Lynch syndrome screening program.
Lynch syndrome (LS) identification leads to improved health outcomes. Universal tumor screening (UTS) facilitates LS identification among colorectal cancer (CRC) and uterine cancer (UC) cases; institutional management affects screening program implementation and outcomes. There has been limited study of institutional UTS program care coordination needs, including patient navigation of genetic counseling referrals. We examined the influence of patient navigators on access to cancer genetic services among LS UTS screen-positive cases within a single institution. Electronic health record review of screen-positive CRC and UC cases for a 12-month period assessed the relationship between patient navigation and follow-through to genetic services. Among 451 newly diagnosed CRC (n = 175) and UC (n = 276) cases, 96 (21%; 28 CRC/68 UC cases) had abnormal UTS results. Among these, 66 (69%) showed MLH1 promoter hypermethylation (i.e., screen-negative). Of 30 screen-positive cases, 16 (53%) received navigation services. Among these, 14/16 (88%) and 13/14 (81%) underwent genetic counseling and testing, respectively; 7/13 (54%) had pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants detected. Among non-navigated screen-positive patients, 2/14 (14%) were excluded due to incomplete UTS results. Five of the remaining 12 cases (42%) sought genetic counseling, 4/12 (33%) underwent genetic testing; 1/4 (25%) tested positive for a pathogenic variant. The difference in navigated (88%) versus non-navigated cases (42%) undergoing genetic counseling was statistically significant (p = .02). Patient navigation was associated with follow-through to genetic counseling and testing services among LS screen-positive cases. This model deserves additional prospective investigation to confirm these findings and to assess their generalizability.