Patient navigation from the paired perspectives of cancer patients and navigators: a qualitative analysis

Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Mar;82(3):396-401. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.12.019. Epub 2011 Jan 20.


Objective: Patient navigation for cancer care assesses and alleviates barriers to health care services. We examined paired perspectives of cancer patients and their navigators to examine the process of patient navigation. We explored the strengths, limitations, and our own lessons learned about adopting the novel methodology of multiperspective analysis.

Methods: As part of a larger RCT, patients and navigators were interviewed separately. We reviewed interviews with 18 patient-navigator dyads. Dyad summaries were created that explicitly incorporated both patient and navigator perspectives. Emerging themes and verbatim quotations were reflected in the summaries.

Results: Paired perspectives were valuable in identifying struggles that arose during navigation. These were represented as imbalanced investment and relational amelioration. Patients and navigators had general consensus about important patient needs for cancer care, but characterized these needs differently.

Conclusion: Our experience with multiperspective analysis revealed a methodology that delivers novel relational findings, but is best conducted de novo rather than as part of a larger study.

Practice implications: Multiperspective analysis should be more widely adopted with clear aims and analytic strategy that strengthen the ability to reveal relational dynamics. Navigation training programs should anticipate navigator struggles and provide navigators with tools to manage them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Advocacy*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Professional Role
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Program Evaluation
  • Qualitative Research
  • Socioeconomic Factors