Use of patient navigators to oversee the care of diabetic patients at a clinic resulted in improved health status, results of a one-year pilot program show.

The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Health Center at Cleveland Clinic and consultancy Accenture conducted the pilot with support from the Harold P. Freedman Patient Navigation Institute, founded by Dr. Freedman in Harlem in 1990 to reduce disparities in care. Navigators inform patients of the need for recommended exams and provide timely access, and work to eliminate barriers to timely treatment of those with abnormal or suspicious findings, according to the organization’s Web site.

In the pilot program, navigators were assigned to assist 108 patients in obtaining appropriate treatment, showing up to appointments, receiving education and managing glucose levels. The results showed a 50 percent decrease in no-show appointments, a 32 percent improvement in abnormal glucose levels and a 52 percent rise in completion of self-monitoring.

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