American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Standard 2.2: Patient Navigation

A patient navigation process is in place to guide the patient with a breast abnormality through provided and referred services.

Definition and Requirements

Patient navigation refers to individualized assistance offered to patients, families, and caregivers to help overcome health care system barriers and facilitate timely access to quality health and psychosocial care throughout the continuum of care.

Breast disease patient navigation can and should take on different forms in different communities as dictated by the needs of the patient, his or her family, and the community.

The patient navigation process includes consistent care coordination throughout the continuum of care and an assessment of the physical, psychological, and social needs of the patient. The anticipated results are enhanced patient outcomes, increased satisfaction, and reduced costs of care. This process may involve different individuals at each point of care.

Examples of patient navigation include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing education, support, and coordination to assist patients in securing appointments
  • Providing educational resources on breast health, breast cancer, and breast care
  • Connecting patients and families to resources and support services
  • Promoting communication between the patient and health care providers
  • Coordinating services throughout the continuum of care

Benefits of patient navigation include:

  • Enhancing the patient’s quality of life, sense of autonomy, and self-determination for managing his/her own health
  • Reinforcing the physician-patient relationship
  • Expediting care

Process Requirements

Patient navigation is provided by a professional (for example, nurse, social worker) who has documented training to provide individualized assistance to breast disease patients, families, and caregivers at risk.

If patient navigation is provided by a lay navigator, then he or she is required to have documented patient navigation training.


Complete all required standard fields in the Survey Application Record (SAR).

Upload documentation of training of patient navigator(s) into the SAR.

Identify the individual(s) who provide patient navigation in the center along with their qualifications and role.


The surveyor will discuss the patient navigation process and will review the credential(s) and/or documentation of the individual(s) providing patient navigation during the site visit.

Rating Compliance


  1. The breast center has a patient navigation process to guide patients with a breast abnormality from pre-diagnosis through provided and referred services.
  2. Patient navigators are trained professionals or trained lay navigators.


The center does not fulfill one or more of the compliance criteria.