TODAY'S HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL SERVICE SYSTEMS CAN BE A DIZZYING MAZE.
WHEN A PATIENT STRUGGLES TO FIND WHAT THEY NEED, THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO
BE IN EVEN POORER HEALTH.
NAVIGATING THE HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL SERVICE SYSTEMS IS A PROCESS OF PATHFINDING.
At the most basic level, navigating the health care system involves cutting through what can be an obstacle course to help patients connect with the right health care provider(s) and combination of treatments and services that offer the best prospect for wellness. This also includes access to information about the latest medical breakthroughs and developments.
Relative to different kinds of support that may be required in the face
of a health challenge, navigation takes form in getting patients the information they need about options available in the marketplace for a fee or through social service agencies. This includes assistance with health insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid); transportation to see a physician and other needs; nutrition and food provision; children’s and adult day care; home-based care and medical equipment;
home maintenance; and assisted living and nursing home options.
Given the often fragmented nature of both the health care and support/social service systems, the vast majority of patients who want to better achieve the prospect of a positive outcome must pull together
research from multiple sources on their own. This, of course,
adds an additional layer of difficulty for those
who are already sick, busy with their everyday lives,
or otherwise stressed or disadvantaged.
Citations available upon request.