Obstetric Provider Perspectives on Postpartum Patient Navigation for Low-Income Patients

Rachel S. Ruderman, Emma C. Dahl, Brittney R. Williams, Joe M. Feinglass, Michelle A. Kominiarek, William A. Grobman, Lynn M. Yee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Patient navigation programs have shown promise for improving health but are not widely used in obstetric care. Our objective was to understand obstetric provider perspectives on how to implement patient navigation to optimize care during the postpartum period for low-income patients. Method: Focus groups were conducted with obstetric physicians, nurses, and social workers who care for low-income pregnant and postpartum patients in an academic medical center. Semistructured interview guides were developed to elicit conversations about the potential value of patient navigators, recommendations for navigator training, and how navigators could be most effective in improving postpartum care. Analysis of themes was based on the constant comparative method. Results: Twenty-six obstetric providers (six focus groups) discussed elements for a successful obstetric navigation program. Successful implementation themes included selecting navigators with appropriate interpersonal attributes, arranging navigator training, and identifying the most valuable services navigators could render. Desirable navigator attributes included persistence in patient advocacy, consistency, relatability, and a supportive manner. Training recommendations included learning the health care system, identifying where to obtain health system and community resources, and learning how be effective health educators. Suggested services were broad, ranging from traditional care coordination to specific educational and resource-driven tasks. Conclusions: Obstetric providers perceive patient navigation to be a potentially beneficial resource to support low-income patients and offered recommendations for navigation implementation. These included suggestions for patient-centered navigators, with specific training and services focused on promoting care continuity and coordination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-267
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • navigator
  • needs assessment
  • patient navigation
  • postpartum care
  • prenatal care
  • provider perspectives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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