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Epilepsy & behavior : E&B


The concept of patient navigation was first introduced in 1989 by the American Cancer Society and was first implemented in 1990 by Dr. Harold Freeman in Harlem, NY. The role of a patient navigator (PN) is to coordinate care between the care team, the patient, and their family while also providing social support. In the last 30 years, patient navigation in oncological care has expanded internationally and has been shown to significantly improve patient care experience, especially in the United States cancer care system. Like oncology care, patients who require epilepsy care face socioeconomic and healthcare system barriers and are at significant risk of morbidity and mortality if their care needs are not met. Although shortcomings in epilepsy care are longstanding, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these issues as both patients and providers have reported significant delays in care secondary to the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, preliminary studies had shown the potential efficacy of patient navigation in improving epilepsy care. Considering the evidence that such programs are helpful for severely disadvantaged cancer patients and in enhancing epilepsy care, we believe that professional societies should support and encourage PN programs for coordinated and comprehensive care for patients with epilepsy.

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