Patient navigation across the spectrum of women's health care in the United States

Kathryn M. McKenney, Noelle G. Martinez, Lynn M. Yee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Patient navigation is a patient-centered intervention that uses trained personnel to identify patient-level barriers, including financial, cultural, logistical, and educational obstacles to health care and then mitigate these barriers to facilitate complete and timely access to health services. For example, to assist a woman with Medicaid who is seeking postpartum care, a patient navigator could help her schedule an appointment before her insurance benefits change, coordinate transportation and child care, give her informational pamphlets on contraception options, and accompany her to the appointment to ensure her questions are answered. Existing studies examining the efficacy of patient navigation interventions show particularly striking benefits in the realm of cancer care, including gynecological oncology; patient navigation has been demonstrated to increase access to screening, shorten time to diagnostic resolution, and improve cancer outcomes, particularly in health disparity populations, such as women of color, rural populations, and poor women. Because of the successes in cancer care at reducing disparities in health care access and health outcomes, patient navigation has the potential to improve care and reduce disparities in obstetric and benign gynecological care. We review the concept of patient navigation, offer potential roles for patient navigation in obstetrics and gynecology, and discuss areas for further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-286
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • community health worker
  • delivery of health care
  • health disparities
  • health equity
  • navigators
  • patient navigation
  • promotora women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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