Marco Carlos, AVP of Clinical Development
Olyvia Garcia, NRCMA, Prostate Cancer Navigator
Erika Saldivar, Advanced Prostate Cancer Navigator
Valerie Guzman, Navigation Manager
Erica Villanueva, CCMA, OAB Navigator
Holly Campbell, OAB Navigator
Vanessa Castaneda, Radiation Oncology Navigator
What Is Patient Navigation?
Patient navigation is a concept that many folks are not familiar with, but it is a valuable resource in a patient’s journey. The CDC defines patient navigation as “staff members who work with patients to overcome barriers and understand the medical system.” Barriers to care include lack of financial resources; transportation; or understanding of the healthcare system, diagnosis or treatment.
Our objective is to help connect the right patient to the right treatment at the right time. Our program was envisioned and started by the late Jessica Stewart, vice president of business development for Urology Austin. Her mentorship grew the program to what it is today.
Patient Navigation Supports Our Patients
Our navigators wear many hats that fall into the realm of social work, financial navigation, customer service, data analysis, scheduling, patient advocacy, survivorship support, and many times, a shoulder for a patient to cry and lean on.
Confronting a chronic disease is taxing on patients and their caregivers. The more complex or terminal the illness, the higher the level of distress. Many readers have walked in those shoes and understand how quickly managing a disease can turn difficult. Supporting our patients includes seeking alternatives to fund treatment, enrolling in assistance programs, adhering to the care plan, serving as a point of contact, and bridging the communication gap between the patient and the care team.
Award Winning and Nationally Recognized
We support our navigators in their training and development, pushing them to become experts in the disease state, treatments, and the healthcare ecosystem that they navigate in. On average, it takes a year for a new navigator to hit their stride. Expectations are high and intense, and much brain power is used with very little respite. Our navigators experience emotional and mental exhaustion; however, they’re always seeking to put the patient first. Their compassion, empathy and passion for their work reflect greatly the amazing people they are. Their professionalism has led to award-winning navigation and national recognition.
Valerie Guzman, navigation manager, was one of only six patient navigators in the country presented with the Center of Excellence: Patient Navigator Our Hero Award in 2022. This award is given to patient navigators who pursue and achieve excellence in patient care.
In 2022, the incredible navigation efforts of our prostate cancer navigation team contributed to Urology Austin earning its stripes as a Prostate Cancer Center of Excellence (COE) – and ranking in the top 25% of urology practices in the country. Erika Saldivar, Vanessa Castaneda and Olyvia Garcia make up our prostate cancer navigation team and work diligently for our patients.
Overactive bladder navigators Holly Campbell and Erica Villanueva caught the attention of a top executive of a global pharmaceutical company. This top executive oversees operations in the United States and was so impressed with our physicians and the OAB navigation program that he and other top executives made a special trip to Austin to meet our providers and navigators. The executive spent more than an hour speaking to Holly and Erica and learning about the important role that they play in the treatment of overactive bladder.
To learn more about our team, please visit our navigation web pages.