Healthcare systems are complex and as a result patients may experience fragmentation of services. Indigenous populations experience increasingly disproportionate health disparities compared to non-Indigenous populations. Patient navigation is known as a patient-centered approach to empower individuals to connect with appropriate services. Literature surrounding the Indigenous Patient Navigator (IPN) remains sparse necessitating this scoping review. Purpose: To map the current state of the role of the IPN internationally within Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Estalished methodological framework by Arksey and O’Malley and the PRISMA extension for scoping reviews was used.
A total of 820 articles were reviewed from four databases, yielding sixteen articles.
The absence of published literature surrounding the IPN role in Australia and New Zealand was surprising considering similar histories of colonization. The term navigator was used most often and was typically used when describing lay/peer roles. Professional roles were described using specific role descriptions. Six IPN roles were identified including: (1) social service navigation, (2) wholistic support of Indigenous people, (3) advocacy/building capacity, (4) health assessment, (5) administrative navigation, and (6) outreach. Additionally, barriers and enablers IPNs address are identified. This scoping review will assist to promote and reinforce the IPN role.