Lessons Learned About Healthcare

What Is A Health Advocate?

Health advocacy is more on direct service to family or even individuals while promoting health as well as access to healthcare in communities and larger public. Not only that, health advocates are there to promote and to support rights of patient in healthcare arena, enhance health policy initiatives focused on the safe and quality care available and help build capacity in improving community health.

Health advocates are suited best in addressing the challenges of patient centered care in this complex health care system. The IOM or Institute of Medicine is defining patient centered care as a health care that is establishing partnership among patients, their families when appropriate and practitioners to guarantee that decisions respect the patient’s needs, wants as well as preferences and that the patients have education and support needed in making decisions and participating in their own care.

Patient centered care in addition is one of the overreaching goals of health advocacy aside from a safer medical systems and greater patient involvement in the healthcare design and delivery.

Patient representatives, educators, care managers, ombudsmen, health advisers and patient navigators are all health advocates who work directly in patient care environments such as community health centers, hospitals, long term care facilities, private and independent practice and patient services programs of non-profit organizations. They are collaborating with several other health care providers in order to mediate the conflicts and to facilitate a positive change. And as health information specialists and educators, advocates are working to empower others.

And in policy arenas, you’ll see these health advocates to be working for positive change in health care system, protection and enhancement of the rights of patients from position in government agencies, access to quality care, disease specific voluntary associations, national health policy organizations and grassroots and media. There might be some distinction between the patient advocates who are specifically working with or on behalf of families and individual patients or disease specific voluntary association and even health advocates whose work is primarily focused on the communities, system as a whole or policies. However, the terms health advocate and patient advocate are often used interchangeably.

Advocates in the clinical research settings especially those who are concentrated in protecting human subjects of medical research, advocates who are serving clients in the private practice alone or even in bigger and more established companies and advocates in various disease specific associations most especially the ones who are centered on widespread chronic conditions or genetic disorders are all included in the fast growing sectors of health advocacy.

Health advocates play an important role in the society as they make sure that everyone gets quality and top notch healthcare service.

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