They call themselves Patient Advocates, Healthcare Liaisons, Patient Navigators, Patient Advocacy-Ombudsmen and Care Managers. Many titles but the singular objective of Advocating for Patients, their families, and their loved ones. The symposium brought together an array of professionals to address the current patient care and healthcare advocacy environments. The agenda, which included topics of Patient Rights, Patient Safety and Medical Error Prevention transcended the boundaries of many inter-related fields including law, medicine, social work and caregiving. Ethical obligations were front and center, prompting lively discourse about topics such as, “Who is the client?” and “What are the boundaries faced by advocates?”
Many of the speakers addressed the tools, the process, and the goals of what is needed in the Advocacy process and how it impacts changing the behavior of the multiple interdisciplinary teams that interact with the patient. Change agents, utilizing many skills to position the patient as the ultimate decider and who is given a voice to the family are the basic tenets of Advocates. The skills that we need in navigating the health care morass are increasingly necessary in every walk of life. And that does not exclude Physicians, lawyers and health professionals. Once we are in the “system,” the rules change. We lose our voice, our integrity and our rights. That is when an independent “third party” becomes vital. The Advocate is mission critical.
This is an “industry that is evolving. We want to share some association resources that we believe you need to be aware of. Please feel free to contact them and include their forward thinking directions in your world.
Trisha Torrey is the founder and Director of The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates and AdvoConnection.com www.aphadvocates.org. Also, Greater National Advocates, www.GNANOW.ORG www. chicagoadvocates.com are great resources. Greater Chicago Advocates is a network of advocates that has a directory of local advocates. Greater National Advocates is a public service organization working on doing the same thing on a national level. They are both dedicated to improving the patient experience by educating the nation about the lifesaving benefits of healthcare advocacy and providing access to a network of healthcare advocacy practitioners.