Patient navigation has expanded as a promising approach to improve cancer care coordination and patient adherence. This paper addresses the need to identify the evidence on the economic impact of patient navigation in colorectal cancer, following the Health Economic Evaluation Publication Guidelines. Articles indexed in Medline, Cochrane, CINAHL, and Web of Science between January 2000 and March 2017 were analyzed. We conducted a systematic review of the literature using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The quality assessment of the included studies was based on the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) checklist. Inclusion criteria indicated that the paper's subject had to explicitly address patient navigation in colorectal cancer and the study had to be an economic evaluation. The search yielded 243 papers, 9 of which were finally included within this review. Seven out of the nine studies included met standards for high-quality based on CHEERS criteria. Eight concluded that patient navigation programs were unequivocally cost-effective for the health outcomes of interest. Six studies were cost-effectiveness analyses. All studies computed the direct costs of the program, which were defined a minima as the program costs. Eight of the reviewed studies adopted the healthcare system perspective. Direct medical costs were usually divided into outpatient and inpatient visits, tests, and diagnostics. Effectiveness outcomes were mainly assessed through screening adherence, quality of life and time to diagnostic resolution. Given these outcomes, more economic research is needed for patient navigation during cancer treatment and survivorship as well as for patient navigation for other cancer types so that decision makers better understand costs and benefits for heterogeneous patient navigation programs.
Colorectal cancer Patient navigation Cost-benefit analysis Health care costs