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J Patient Exp


Complex Patient Navigation by Veteran Patients in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for Chronic Headache Disease: A Qualitative Study.


Lindsey HM, Goldman RE, Riley SD, Baird S, Burrone L, Grinberg AS, Fenton BT, Sico JJ, Damush TM
J Patient Exp. 2023; 10:23743735231151547.
PMID: 36710997.


Patients living with headache diseases often have difficulty accessing evidence-based care. Authors conducted a qualitative research study with 20 patients receiving headache care at seven Headache Centers of Excellence within the Veterans Health Administration to examine their experiences navigating headache care. This study employed thematic qualitative analysis and conducted cross-case comparisons. Several key findings emerged. 1) Most patients saw multiple healthcare providers over numerous years before reaching a headache specialist to manage chronic headaches. 2) Receipt of high-quality and comprehensive headache specialty care was associated with high satisfaction. 3) Patients with headache diseases reported oftentimes they experienced an arduous journey across multiple healthcare systems and between several healthcare providers before receiving evidence-based headache treatment that they found acceptable. Results demonstrate that most patients were satisfied with their current specialty headache care in the Veterans Health Administration. Authors discuss implications for future studies and highlight ways to improve patient satisfaction and timely access to appropriate headache care.