How do I choose the right patient advocate?

How do I choose the right patient advocate?
| by Dr Elena Borrelli

By now you have heard of the concept of patient advocacy, but how do you choose the right one? Perhaps you are struggling with a challenging medical condition and you are looking to get things better managed as soon as possible. So how do you choose the right patient advocate? Let’s discuss some ways to help increase your confidence that you are entrusting the right person to guide you through your journey to better health and quality of life.

Choose a Private Patient Advocate

A common question is; why should I choose a private patient advocate over one that is provided by a healthcare system or insurance company? There is a main key difference between a patient advocate that works for a large system and a private patient advocate. Patient advocates from large healthcare companies practice more like customer service representatives. They may refer you to the billing department, or other areas in the hospital depending on your needs. Their services may be useful in certain situations, however, those patient advocates typically do not have extensive medical or billing backgrounds. Another important factor to remember is that they are employed by that healthcare organization or insurance company, therefore your (patient/or family members') interest is not always their first priority. A private patient advocate is an unbiased individual, who focuses on YOU! A private patient advocate helps navigate your path to the best possible care for you.

Choose a Board-Certified Patient Advocate

When you are selecting a doctor, you want a professional that is board-certified and acknowledges competence in the area of practice. Similarly, it is essential to choose a certified patient advocate.

A Board Certified Patient Advocate is a patient advocate who has achieved and maintains certification by the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB). A Certified Patient Advocate upholds the PACB’s Ethical Standards, Competencies, and Best Practices. Certification also requires successfully passing the PACB examination, which evaluates broad areas of competencies within the profession.

Choose an Experienced Patient Advocate

A crucial advantage of private patient advocacy is the personalized care and 1 on 1 trusting relationship that you develop with your private patient advocate As patient advocacy is increasing in popularity, more patient advocacy companies are popping up. Unfortunately, this may make it more challenging for you to select the right one. Beware of large companies trying to monetize by helping you find the right patient advocate. Many large companies or associations offer competitive pricing to connect you with an advocate. However, several of these patient advocates are just starting out and inexperienced in managing your specific condition. It is essential to find an experienced private patient advocate that you can deal with directly instead of having to go through a large association or corporation.

It’s Okay to Switch Patient Advocates

What happens if you started with a patient advocate, but you are not seeing much improvement in your situation? IT is OKAY to switch? We have several clients that come to us after having an unpleasant experience with a patient advocate. Not all patient advocates are the same, find the one that fits best for you.

Be Confident in Your Choice

Take the time to research and ask questions so that you can feel confident going into your relationship with your private patient advocate. At Pathway Patient Advocates, I am a physician associate and an experienced board-certified private patient advocate ready to listen and discuss your needs. My support staff and I are ready to help advocate for you to the best of our ability. If I feel that I am not the best fit to advocate for you, I will be honest with you about that.

I look forward to hearing your story and advocating for you.

Elena Borrelli M.S. PAC, BCPA