In this week’s post, I wanted to share a project I have been working on. It revolves around the area of Patient Advocacy. Today, patient advocacy is an emerging field in healthcare. If you have been a patient or have had a family member or friend who is a patient, you know that navigating the complex healthcare world is challenging. Not to mention, it is costly and, many times, unsafe. Having a patient advocate who can be by your side can relieve stress, allow you to focus on your family member/friend, and give you peace of mind so you can get through each day.
I have had the pleasure over the past ten years to learn and participate in this emerging practice. At first, I did not understand the difference in what a patient advocate does compare to what I did as a nurse and a case manager. Over the years, in talking to people in patient advocacy, I learned more about the practice, but it was not until I became a patient in 2014 that I understood the real value advocates bring. Patient Advocates are in place for the patient and the family. For the most part, they are independent of the payer and the healthcare system. This allows them to focus on your needs separate from the politics of the various entities that make up the healthcare system. Advocates interact with the healthcare team to meet the needs of their clients needs and navigate the complex healthcare system. Having an advocate makes a difference and allows you to see outside of the very rigid healthcare system.
I have often said that the healthcare system is in place for the healthcare system. It works just as it is designed to work. Today, people (you and me) are paying more and more of our healthcare costs. So being an active member of your healthcare is critical to ensure your care meets your goals. Doing this is not easy because the healthcare system is fragmented, complicated, confusing, and expensive. Navigating the healthcare system is hard, especially if you are sick. Patient Advocates are there for you…for your family, and they work to make sure your wishes/goals are known. Patient Advocacy is an emerging practice around the world because healthcare is complex regardless of what country you live.
Take some time, watch each of the videos. Feel free to share the link with your colleagues.