NYMC Faculty Publications


Monitoring and Developing a Volunteer Patient Navigation Intervention to Improve Mammography Compliance in a Safety Net Hospital

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April 2019




PURPOSE: Although mammography screening is crucial for cancer detection, screening rates have been declining, particularly in patients of low socioeconomic status and minorities. We sought to evaluate and improve the compliance rates at our safety net hospital through a prospective randomized controlled trial of a volunteer-run patient navigation intervention. METHODS: Baseline 90-day institutional mammography compliance rates were evaluated for patients who received a physician order for screening mammograms over a 1-month period. This analysis aided in the creation of a prospective randomized controlled trial of a volunteer-run patient navigation intervention to improve compliance, with 49 total participants. The primary outcome was 14-day mammography compliance rates. Secondary analysis examined the efficacy of the intervention with respect to patient demographics, prior mammography compliance, family history of cancer, beliefs on mammography, and past medical history. RESULTS: Analysis of baseline institutional compliance revealed a 47.87% compliance rate, with the majority of compliance occurring within 14 days of order placement. The patient navigation intervention significantly improved compliance by 34% (42% in the control group, 76% in the intervention group). Additional findings included significantly improved compliance in patients who believed they had a low susceptibility to cancer, those who understood the benefits of mammography and early diagnosis, those who had a prior mammogram, those who were employed, and those with a family history of cancer. CONCLUSION: A system to monitor compliance and intervene using patient navigation significantly improved mammography compliance of patients in a safety net hospital. The relatively straightforward design of this volunteer-based intervention makes it affordable, easily replicable, and perhaps beneficial at other institutions.