Training in Patient Navigation: A Review of the Research Literature

Health Promot Pract. 2016 May;17(3):373-81. doi: 10.1177/1524839915616362. Epub 2015 Dec 8.


Despite the proliferation of patient navigation programs designed to increase timely receipt of health care, little is known about the content and delivery of patient navigation training, or best practices in this arena. The current study begins to address these gaps in understanding, as it is the first study to comprehensively review descriptions of patient navigation training in the peer-reviewed research literature. Seventy-five patient navigation efficacy studies published since 1995, identified through PubMed and by the authors, were included in this narrative review. Fifty-nine of the included studies (79%) mentioned patient navigation training, and 55 of these studies additionally provided a description of training. Most studies did not thoroughly document patient navigation training practices. Additionally, several topics integral to the role of patient navigators, as well as components of training central to successful adult learning, were not commonly described in the research literature. Descriptions of training also varied widely across studies in terms of duration, location, format, learning strategies employed, occupation of trainer, and content. These findings demonstrate the need for established standards of navigator training as well as for future research on the optimal delivery and content of patient navigation training.

Keywords: patient navigation; review; training.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Communication
  • Confidentiality
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration
  • Cultural Competency
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Patient Navigation / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • United States