The healthcare system of today is getting more and more complicated. Managing healthcare can be challenging at the best of times. Patients and their family find it difficult to understand and follow the insurance policy instructions and benefits, results in patients not taking full advantage of what is available to them. They can easily misunderstand the diagnosis, treatment options and medication dosages. Patients and their families encounter numerous difficulties throughout this healthcare journey.
The need for Patient Advocacy arises from the fact that many people lack knowledge about healthcare, including diseases, treatments, medical professionals, facilities, services, and insurance. In the patient advocacy process, there is a person or organization called a patient advocate who provides financial, legal, and emotional support to patients in need. Patient advocate help patients take right and informed decisions regarding their health.
Role of patient advocate:
Patient advocate help patient and their family navigating the healthcare system.
They help patients access healthcare
Educating patients so they can make informed healthcare decision
Guiding patients through their medical care, insurance questions, and administrative and legal tasks
Types of patient advocates:
Here are some types of patient advocates, and we believe that India is also now recognizing the need of patient advocacy in our healthcare sector.
Professional patient advocate -
There are individuals, organizations, and agencies that offer patient advocacy services against a fee.
Governmental agencies -
There are also central and state agencies that certify the healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities. They issue reports on all providers and professionals that can be helpful for patients.
Nursing in advocacy -
Some nurses can also be patient advocate. Because the nurse's first responsibility is to advocate for and strive to protect the safety, health, and rights of the patients.
Patient advocacy groups -
There are some non-profit organizations that focus on specific kind of disease or aspect in healthcare such as “ALS Care & Support Group, India”, Indian Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation (IOIF).
The poor communication between healthcare system and patients is increasing the number of deaths in India. The patient advocacy procedure fills the communication gap between the two of them and helps them make right decisions regarding the patients' health.