Abstract: Improving Access to Treatment and Care for Rural Cancer Patients in Kentucky through the Affiliate Liaison Patient Navigation Prog
Cancer patients in Kentucky, especially those from the rural areas of the state, face many challenges and barriers to quality treatment and care as they navigate the complex health care delivery system. The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network (MCCAN) developed the Affiliate Liaison (AL) program in 2017 to provide support and guidance for patients, many from rural, underserved areas of the state, with access to timely, high-quality cancer treatment and services that are not available locally in their community hospitals. Additionally, the Affiliate Liaison plays an invaluable role in fostering trust, empowerment, and engagement with patients, many with deep-rooted social, cultural, and economic disparities. The AL serves as the patient navigator for patient referrals from the 21 statewide hospitals associated with MCCAN. Implementing the AL patient navigation program has proven to have many benefits to patients and their families as well as to the referring providers. This poster highlights the essential and unique role of the AL patient navigator in facilitating improved care coordination, advocacy, and communication, all of which helps ensure that cancer patients successfully navigate the health care landscape and reach better health outcomes.