If you get sick requiring dealing with specialists and hospitals, a healthcare advocate can be extremely important. A healthcare advocate can be family, friend, hired professional, or your primary care physician. He or she helps you ask questions and makes sure you are getting the information concerning your illness. Many healthcare advocates have a solid medical background, which enables them to act as a “navigator” of treatment options on your behalf.
Most patients can meaningfully benefit from healthcare advocates if they have any sort of complex disease or difficult to diagnose condition. Moreover, complex cases become more common with age, especially when chronic conditions like obesity, hypertension, or diabetes become part of the patient’s overall personal health.
It’s usually very important to move beyond the disease, as an effective healthcare advocate understands you and what you see as meaningful. With a healthcare advocate you often also get an increased “peace of mind” letting you concentrate on getting better.
Healthcare advocates are slowly becoming more common in part because of the current bureaucratic healthcare system. Your primary care physician makes for an exceptional healthcare advocate. The problem is that relatively few have the time or motivation to take on the role. In contrast, a large percentage of concierge medical practices will act as your healthcare advocates.
According to Jeffrey Friedman M.D., Director of Medicine at Community Healthcare Associates and a member of MD VIP, “We often act as healthcare advocates for our patients. For us this role covers everything from helping them source the specialists they need including setting up the appointments to coordinating care, as well as following up with them and the specialists. As healthcare advocates, we spend a great deal of time and effort making sure our patients truly understand what is happening all along the way and assist them in evaluating the options, so they can make informed decisions.”
The practice of concierge medicine is booming, in part, to address the weaknesses and limitations of the traditional healthcare system. Concierge medicine is usually very much patient centered. Consequently, one role that many concierge physicians are embracing is that of healthcare advocate.