Background: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a public health problem and there is a scarcity of type 2 CKD translational research that incorporates educational tools. Patient navigators have been shown to be effective at reducing disparities and improving outcomes in the oncology field. We describe the creation of a CKD Patient Navigator program designed to help coordinate care, address system-barriers, and educate/motivate patients.
Methods: The conceptual framework for the CKD Patient Navigator Program is rooted in the Chronic Care Model that has a main goal of high-quality chronic disease management. Our established multidisciplinary CKD research team enlisted new members from information technology and data management to help create the program. It encompassed three phases: hiring, training, and implementation. For hiring, we wanted a non-medical or lay person with a college degree that possessed strong interpersonal skills and experience in a service-orientated field. For training, there were three key areas: general patient navigator training, CKD education, and electronic health record (EHR) training. For implementation, we defined barriers of care and created EHR templates for which pertinent study data could be extracted.
Results: We have hired two CKD patient navigators who will be responsible for navigating CKD patients enrolled in a clinical trial. They have undergone training in general patient navigation, specific CKD education through directed readings and clinical shadowing, as well as EHR and other patient related privacy and research training.
Conclusions: The need for novel approaches like our CKD patient navigator program designed to impact CKD care is vital and should utilize team-based care and health information technology given the changing landscape of our health systems.