Primary Care Clinician Perspectives on Patient Navigation to Improve Postpartum Care for Patients with Low Income.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Womens Health Rep (New Rochelle)


washington; swedish


Background: Birthing individuals experience significant physical and psychosocial transitions during the postpartum period. Despite amplified health needs, many individuals do not successfully transition from obstetric to primary care. Patient navigation provides a patient-centered solution that has been applied to other health care specialties resulting in improved care coordination and patient engagement for populations in greatest need. Our objective was to understand primary care clinician perspectives regarding the role of navigators in improving postpartum care for individuals with low income.

Methods: In this qualitative investigation, we conducted focus groups with primary care clinicians from family and internal medicine specialties. Semistructured interview guides addressed clinician perceptions of navigator roles during the postpartum period and recommendations for navigator training. Focus group discussions were digitally recorded, transcribed, and analyzed via a constant comparative method.

Results: Twenty-eight primary care clinicians, including 26 physicians and 2 advanced practice registered nurses, participated in 8 focus groups. Participants reported favorable attitudes toward implementation of a postpartum patient navigation program. Themes regarding useful navigation services included streamlining obstetric to primary care transition, enhancing visit effectiveness, creating personalized postpartum care, and providing patient- and clinician-focused education. Recommendations for navigator training included education on basic medical concerns that are common in the postpartum period, health information privacy and electronic health record use, health care systems, and community resources.

Clinical Trial Registration number: NCT03922334.

Conclusions: Primary care clinicians were highly receptive to the concept of patient navigation as a process to improve health in the postpartum period through enhanced care coordination and improved patient knowledge, engagement, and self-efficacy.

Keywords: care coordination; clinician perspectives; patient navigation; postpartum care; primary care; transitions of care.

Clinical Institute

Women & Children


Obstetrics & Gynecology


Family Medicine


Palliative Care