Collaboration is Key For Patient Advocacy
As the field of private Patient Advocacy has grown, so has the variety of persons delivering advocacy services in the US. The need is so great for healthcare delivery reform and all of us are offering a variety of services to meet this overwhelming need.
Careful consideration must be taken in order to maximize the contributions of all who answer the call to advocate on peoples’ behalves. In order to accomplish this, Intention is a critical factor. I suspect that the Intention of all patient advocates is very similar: to ensure that all who work with patient advocates achieve the least troubled journey through the medical system and have the best possible outcomes.
(To learn more about what it means to be a patient advocate from a historical perspective, check out this blog .)
«Will we all work together to best accomplish our intention? Or, will we compete with one another and fracture the patient advocate community?»
So, central questions emerge: will we all work together to best accomplish our intention? Or, will we compete with one another and fracture the patient advocate community? Will the patient advocates who are employees of hospitals and insurance companies be included in the field?
We have the possibility to build a strong and unified advocacy response with the ability to reframe the patient care delivery models currently in place in the medical system. We can achieve the highest and best good if we acknowledge the contributions of all advocates and work together.
So, what would this possibility look like in actual practice?
First, what are the types of private patient advocates in the field currently? There are non- medical advocacy practices, employee type patient advocacy, healthcare navigators, RN based clinical practices, health coaches and billing advocates.
Here is an idea: how about building a unified field of mutual recognition and support? This would afford all of us the opportunity to strengthen our practices, enable the American public to utilize our services more through joint marketing efforts, and develop political clout through our combined efforts. This could be a national professional organization with divisions to accommodate all of our various service models.
The work that all of us are doing is extremely valuable. Why not work together? Why not cooperate to unify and strengthen the patient advocacy field? Of course there are a variety of types of Patient Advocates, each contributing to the nation’s advocacy needs. All should be encouraged to continue to develop and expand their efforts.
It would be helpful to begin to establish a mutual support network amongst the different types of advocacy. Imagine how helpful if we all were to consult with billing advocates to assist our clients with their bills. As RN Patient Advocates, we are already starting to do that.
(For another perspective on why independent patient advocates are necessary, check out this blog. )
“Imagine how helpful if we all were to consult with billing advocates to assist our clients with their bills. As RN Patient Advocates, we are already starting to do that.”
RN Patient Advocates, for example, are experts in one field: clinical education, guidance and support. Our entire field of endeavor is the clinical realm. We are not at all current in medical insurance and billing issues. We reach out to billing advocates all the time for that service. How about Patient Advocates without a medical background consulting with independent RN Patient Advocates (iRNPAs)? iRNPAs could be very helpful and we are always willing to assist clients and advocates alike with in-depth clinical issues and help develop targeted questions of the healthcare providers.
If we all learn about the practices of the varieties of patient advocates, we can refer out for consultation services where our expertise is less than optimal. That will help all of us.
«We have the possibility to build a strong and unified advocacy response with the ability to reframe the patient care delivery models currently in place in the medical system. We can achieve the highest and best good if we acknowledge the contributions of all advocates and work together.»
Patient Advocacy fills such an urgent need in healthcare today. The number of deaths and disabilities due to preventable medical errors and the 12 million misdiagnoses are egregious issues that demand our attention. Johns Hopkins lists medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the US. Truly, we are all needed. Health literacy is at a dangerously low level in the US – 12% according to the last study. Most people get a great deal of their health information from commercial messaging which tends to be incomplete and very slanted. Patient Advocates serve a very important function here by teaching their clients accurate information to guide them on their way to the best healthcare outcomes possible.
We are all working with the same intention and passion for our clients. We are all necessary in this rapidly expanding field addressing health challenges.Let us begin to help each other, to work together to serve clients lost in the broken medical/industrial complex.
How can we all move to create such a network of mutual support?
(For more imformation for current patient advocate professionals, check out this blog. )