What does it mean to be a patient advocate?
A patient advocate is a growing phenomenon in the medical industry today. Other names associated with ‘patient advocate’ include care coordinator, patient relations representative, patient liaison or health advocate. All of these names are referring to the role of some one whom thoroughly understands the healthcare industry and serves as a liaison between the patient and their healthcare representative (doctor, surgeon, nurse, etc.) A patient advocate walks hand in hand with the patient throughout their entire medical journey, providing guidance and helping them navigate the healthcare system more effectively.
A patient advocate can provide a variety of specific services including legal advocacy, insurance or financial guidance and medical guidance. Legal advocacy is when the advocate provides guidance and advice towards matters such as disability or worker’s compensation, living wills and malpractice. They do the same with insurance matters such as reviewing medical bills, managing insurance claims and helping to navigate insurance rules. Many patient advocates have also had healthcare experience as a nurse, physician or social worker. These specific advocates are qualified to give medical advice and help patients further understand aspects of their medical journey including their diagnosis, prescribed medications and surgery process. There are also patient advocates that simply provide companionship and comfort to patients by sitting by their bedside at the hospital. The main goal of all patient advocates is to ensure that they are providing their patient with the support and knowledge that they need throughout their entire medical journey.
The patient advocate role is a relatively new concept in the healthcare arena. Most physicians, nurses and medical staff have been required to serve as both a medical professional and a patient advocate. Unfortunately, many medical professionals no longer have the time required to enhance patient advocacy. Increased wait times to receive basic medical care, such as a routine check-up or outpatient procedure, have forced medical staff to decrease their overall time spent with individual patients (who often wait nearly 3 months for care) in order to keep up with an ever growing patient volume. This leaves patients and physicians with little time to discuss medical conditions, leaving the patient feeling alone and confused in figuring out their own care plan and navigating through the healthcare system. At the end of the day, medical providers go home, while dozens of their patients continue buzzing with questions and concerns about what’s next. A patient advocate is on call 24/7 in order to provide support to the unique concerns and worries of patients.
At Kinese, we believe in the power of a patient advocate’s ability to reinvent the way patients experience their medical journey. Today’s healthcare arena does not have the patient’s best comfort and care at heart. Instead, it has become a cat and mouse game with insurance companies, overworked physicians and confused patients with unanswered questions. This is why Kinese exists today. Allow us to serve as your patient advocate throughout your surgical experience.