(HealthDay News) — Use of patient navigators as inpatient care facilitators shortens hospital length of stay, according to a study published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.
Janice L. Kwan, MD, from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues evaluated a patient navigator program’s effects on communication between patients and providers during general medical hospital admission (July 2010 through March 2014). Patient navigators integrated as full members of the inpatient care team, but without clinical responsibilities.
The researchers found that over the study period, 5,628 admissions (4,592 patients) had a patient navigator and 2,213 admissions (1,920 patients) did not have patient navigators. Admissions with patient navigators were significantly shorter than admissions without patient navigators (6.2 vs. 7.5 days; P<.001).
There was no difference in 30-day readmission rates between the two groups (13.1% vs. 13.8%; P=.48).
“Implementation of this intervention was associated with a reduction in length of stay without an increase in 30-day readmission,” the researchers wrote.