BACKGROUND: This report details the cost effectiveness of a non-nurse patient navigation (PN) program that was implemented at the University of Chicago Medical Center to increase colonoscopy-based colorectal cancer (CRC) screening.
METHODS: The authors investigated the impact of the PN intervention by collecting process measures. Individuals who received navigation were compared with a historic cohort of non-navigated patients. In addition, a previously validated data-collection instrument was tailored and used to collect all costs related to developing, implementing, and administering the program; and the incremental cost per patient successfully navigated (the cost of the intervention divided by the change in the number who complete screening) was calculated.
RESULTS: The screening colonoscopy completion rate was 85.1% among those who were selected to receive PN compared with 74.3% when no navigation was implemented. With navigation, the proportion of no-shows was 8.2% compared with 15.4% of a historic cohort of non-navigated patients. Because the perceived risk of noncompletion was greater among those who received PN (previous no-show or cancellation, poor bowel preparation) than that in the historic cohort, a scenario analysis was performed. Assuming no-show rates between 0% and 50% and using a navigated rate of 85%, the total incremental program cost per patient successfully navigated ranged from $148 to $359, whereas the incremental intervention-only implementation cost ranged from $88 to $215.
CONCLUSIONS: The current findings indicate that non-nurse PN can increase colonoscopy completion, and this can be achieved at a minimal incremental cost for an insured population at an urban academic medical center.