Whether they are called patient navigators, advocates, coaches, or community health workers, non-clinical health workers are becoming increasingly important for patient engagement and care coordination.
About half of all healthcare workers are non-clinical staff. This includes community health workers, patient navigators, health coaches, and other individuals who interact with patients but do not dispense medical advice or carry out procedures, according to a 2014 report from the Brookings Institute.
“Although many discussions of the healthcare workforce focus on doctors and other occupations requiring advanced degrees, the healthcare system would not function without pre-baccalaureate workers—those with less than a bachelor’s degree,” the report stated.
“These workers perform a variety of clinical, assistive, and administrative tasks, and like all healthcare staff, should be working at their full level of competence in order to achieve the ‘triple aim’ of improving the experience of care, improving health outcomes, and reducing per capita costs.”