What we heard about health navigators in April 2019
Many people find it difficult to access the health system due to its complexity. It's a system with multiple moving parts, including intricate funding models, patients with complex, chronic and diverse needs, and numerous interventions and treatment options.
We were interested in hearing Health Voices' thoughts about a new model of care that could put "health navigators" into local communities.
Health navigators are knowledgeable people who would help community members access or evaluate health information. They would be locally accessible and help create better links to community and health-based resources.
Note: more than one response could be selected for some questions.
Responses by location
How often do you need someone to help you read and understand medical information?
- Rarely 48%
- Never 29%
- Sometimes 15%
- Usually 5%
- Always 3%
How confident are you filling out medical forms by yourself?
- Very confident 41%
- Extremely confident 38%
- Somewhat confident 11%
- Not so confident 7%
- Not at all confident 3%
Do you have a trusted friend or family member that can help you with reading medical information, filling out medical forms, or making medical appointments?
- I do it myself 33%
- I do it myself and I am that person for others 32%
- Yes 26%
- Sometimes 6%
- No 3%
If a service was available that helped people understand medical information, including: completing forms, making appointments and organising health-related travel, where do you think this service should be located (other than at the GP clinic or local health service)? Please only nominate the service/s that are available in your local area.
- Pharmacy/chemist 69%
- Neighbourhood/community house 45%
- Library 32%
- Other 21% (listed below)
- Council office 29%
- Post office 10%
- School 8%
- Supermarket 5%
- Bank 3%
Other suggestions included: Centrelink, op shops, hospitals, religious settings, bush nursing centres, business transaction centres, and online or virtual options.
Why did you select the above choice/s?
- It's a place with existing medical knowledge 26%
- Accessible 20%
- Already have good privacy practices 18%
- Trusted/safe 8%
- Places with links to other services/groups 8%
- They have meeting spaces 5%
- Reach vulnerable and diverse groups e.g. lower socio-economic, mental health, refugees, the elderly 3%
- It provides more opportunities for volunteers 3%
- Because of their connection to community 3%
- Parking/public transport is close by 2%
- Multi-purpose facility 2%
- Quiet location 2%
If a service was available that did not provide medical advice but instead helped people to understand medical information, fill out medical forms, make health appointments and organise health-related travel, who would you be comfortable talking to about this?
- Health professional (nurse, pharmacist, GP etc) 63%
- Healthcare assistant (non-degree qualified) 56%
- Anyone, so long as they kept my information private 41%
- A volunteer 27%
- I would not use this service 10%
Why did you select the above people/profession/s?
What help or assistance do you think this service should provide?
- Reading and simplifying medical information 87%
- Providing information about eligibility for support 87%
- Helping you complete medical forms such as hospital admission forms 86%
- Planning and organising travel for medical appointments 86%
- Helping you find a support group 79%
- Assistance with making and changing appointments 78%
- Helping you understand medical billing information 76%
- Helping you find more information about a diagnosis or condition 74%
- Help to understand prescription and pharmacist advice 70%
- Printing and posting referral letters and forms 65%
Other suggestions included: first aid services, help with accessing allied health and other services e.g. audiology, knowledge of mobility equipment, organising interpreters to be at future appointments, in addition to assistance with other non-health/advocacy support e.g. financial, housing and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.