Programming Connection

Chronic Health Navigation Program 

ASK Wellness Centre
Kamloops and Merritt, British Columbia

Why Was the Program Developed?

The Chronic Health Navigation Program was developed to improve the health outcomes of people who use emergency services heavily by providing them with a knowledgeable and reliable health navigator.

The idea for the Chronic Health Navigation Program emerged from the local health authority’s Chronic Disease Management Plan. According to the health authority, good chronic disease management requires care and support that is coordinated across healthcare providers and points of care, is easily accessible and focuses on health promotion and well-being. Advances in HIV and hepatitis C treatment mean that both of these infections are chronic, manageable conditions. ASK Wellness Centre knew from its long history working with people with both HIV and hepatitis C, however, that its clients needed additional support to manage their health. For ASK Wellness Centre, it made sense to support clients to learn to manage their health with the help of a knowledgeable professional who was not part of the healthcare system.

Before the Chronic Health Navigation Program was launched in 2010, ASK Wellness Centre, in partnership with other service providers in Kamloops, studied the emergency service expenditures (ambulance services and emergency departments) for the 15 heaviest users of these services over a nine-month period. When the program was started, each of these users was offered the services of a navigator, and all of them accepted the offer.

Over the nine months of the study period, it was determined that access to a navigator would have saved emergency services $81,000 annually, even after subtracting $46,300 for the cost of the navigator.