The results of a one year pilot project between Accenture and the Cleveland Clinic have been released today and show that patient navigators can improve outcomes. The pilot looked at patients who are dealing with diabetes. The navigators facilitated clinical interventions for 108 patients, helping with patient education, glucose management and appointment attendance.
With the support of the Patient Navigation Institute, Accenture and the Cleveland health center developed the pilot, deploying certified patient navigators – low-cost, trained community members who connect patients to essential care services – to assist 108 patients with appropriate clinical interventions and diabetes care practices, including patient education, managing glucose levels and attending clinical appointments as scheduled.
Study participants averaged a 32% improvement in abnormal blood glucose levels and had a 52% increase in the completion of self-measured metrics. The pilot study also achieved a 50% decline in no-show appointments, such as regular ophthalmology and podiatry exams.
The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Health Center is one of the first hospitals in the Midwest region to leverage patient navigators to improve diabetes care management. Among the 108 patients in the initial study, 63 had average blood glucose levels greater than 9%. Patients were contacted individually by patient navigators to help them understand methods of better diabetes management, including communicating with insurance companies, identifying financial assistance programs and support groups, setting medical appointments, obtaining specialist referrals and enrolling in diabetes education programs and insulin clinics.
Accenture research on patient navigation has shown that the positions can improve care coordination, patient adherence to clinical practices and unnecessary hospital admissions. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, impacting nearly 26 million people and costing Americans $174 billion annually.