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Patient Advocacy
who provides support and where to find it
Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Advocacy groups can help patients, physicians connect

Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Advocacy groups can help patients, physicians connect

Patient advocacy and support organizations play an important role for patients suffering with diseases or conditions. The goal of these groups is to connect members with others who may be in similar situations and locate resources to manage or treat their condition. But patients aren't the only ones who benefit from these connections. Physicians and researchers also can benefit from getting involved. "Taking care of patients is my passion," says Dr. A. Noelle Larson, a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon. "So it really comes naturally to be interested and involved in my patients' lives." Dr. Larson's clinical and research focus is scoliosis. She has become involved with Curvy Girls Scoliosis, a global support group. Two years ago, she attended their national meeting. Spending time with families and children affected by scoliosis gave Dr. Larson a new perspective. "So often, our encounter in clinic is quite short, and you don't get a sense of the impact of what our treatment has on that child's overall life and well-being," explains Dr. Larson. "These patients know more about living with their condition than the physician does at some level." Beyond the connections patients and physicians make, the medical community benefits in other ways, as well. Support groups can help organize and inform patients about clinical trials that can lead to innovation. Dr. Larson has seen this in her own practice. Feedback from patients led to a Mayo Clinic study on vertebral body tether implant as a surgical alternative to fusing the spine. "That partnership between the families, the patients, and the researchers and doctors, all working together is really critical," says Dr. Larson. "If we really want to make new drugs, new devices, and new treatments, we all have to work together. Because at the end of the day, we all want to get to the same place, which is better care for patients." On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Larson discusses the role of advocacy groups and the patient-physician connection. ______________________________________ For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed. FOR THE PUBLIC: More health and medical news on the Mayo Clinic News Network. FOR THE MEDIA ONLY: Register at to access clean and nat sound versions of this video on the Mayo Clinic News Network.
Patient Advocate Responsibilities - What Does a Patient Advocate Do?

Patient Advocate Responsibilities - What Does a Patient Advocate Do?

The Patient Advocate Role: When You Go to Court, You Need a Lawyer; When You Go to the Hospital, You Need a Patient Advocate Most people would agree, if you had to go to court on something, you would hire an attorney. Why? Because they are the experts, they know the ins and outs of a courtroom, and they will fight for your cause. Most people also hire a tax person to do their taxes, because those of us who are not accountants, are not educated in finance, and an expert will do a better job. Shouldn’t your health and well-being get the same consideration? After all it is your health and sometimes your life we are talking about.   What Does Being a “Patient Advocate” Even Mean? “Patient advocates support and promote patients’ rights as they navigate the health care system. Whether or not you are ill, managing your health can be confusing and overwhelming. And when things go wrong, it can be hard to get your voice heard by the health care professionals around you. Health care providers and administrators do not intend to make things difficult for patients, but the system is so complicated that there is not much time for compassion and understanding. A patient advocate can guide you through the confusing maze of health care with caring, sensitivity. (S)he can focus exclusively on your needs and help you resolve concerns about the quality of your care, get the care you need, and ensure that your voice is heard and that you are included in decision-making.” - Let Patient Advocates Help You Interpret and Reduce Medical Bills Gross or Alarming Facts - There Are REAL People Behind These Statistics - Don’t Forget :   -The most germ ridden object in your hospital room is your TV remote control? -90% of all medical bills are incorrect and it is the number one reason for bankruptcy in this country? -12 Million Americans are misdiagnosed every year? -The third leading cause of death in this country is due to medical errors? -Studies show doctors only spend 8 minutes with their patients? Or perhaps your experience is like so many others: -Can’t read your own test results because of all the test codes and medical jargon? Hema-what? ICD-10 code? Huh? -You’re not alone: according to one recent study, up to 90% of hospital bills contain errors -The Huffington Post, March 24, 2015 tells us in a study done by Harvard University, the #1 reason for bankruptcy in this country is medical bills -And furthermore, “72% of those who filed bankruptcy due to medical expenses had some type of medical insurance, thus debunking the myth that only the uninsured face financial catastrophes due to medical related expenses” -In an article by CBS, 12 Million Americans are misdiagnosed each year (CBS News, April 17, 2014) -CBS also reported that per a study done in a journal by BMJ Quality and Safety, the 12 million people seeking outpatient care who were misdiagnosed represents 1 out of every 20 people, and apparently half of those patient diagnoses could result in serious harm -The trend is now 11 to 15 minutes for a doctor to spend with a patient. Often it is more like 5 to 7 minutes spent with the patient because that allotment of time usually includes the charting (USA Today, April 20, 2014) -As a result, another study suggests that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. (Johns Hopkins Medicine May 3, 2016 - this study was conducted over an 8-year period) -The results of the study showed that the third leading cause of death equates to 250,000 deaths per year due to medical errors Don’t be a statistic - This is the Better Patient Advocate Definition Patient Advocate Duties - What an Advocate Can Do for You? -Research diagnosis and all treatment options -Patient Advocates Help Interpret Medical Charts -Assist in getting a second opinion -Preparation and accompaniment to doctor’s appointments -Hospital bedside monitoring -Review medications -End of Life planning and paperwork (i.e. living wills, POST, DNRs, Advance Directives, etc.) -Assist with filing insurance claims and disputing denials -Choosing health insurance -Mediation -Help in filing for Social Security, Disability or other assistance -Assisted living or nursing home recommendations -Track paperwork and records -Pain Management -Patient Rights -Age in Place -Financial Advocacy -Review Medical Bills Looking for more answers? Going through a rough situation right now? Would you consider giving us the opportunity to be that Patient Advocate for you? Values Based Patient Advocates is located at 5180 Parkstone Dr. # 160, Chantilly, VA 20151 and Our Patient Advocate Office is ever just an email or phone call away: 703-222-1300 Looking for more info? Have you downloaded our best practices health guide yet? Here’s what you get: Patient Advocate Services – A Best Practices Patient Health Guide Download it here ⇒
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How to Become a Patient Advocate
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Maia Signore

The Importance of Patient Advocacy

By Maia Signore


Patient rights and advocacy is described as catering to a patient's unmet needs which includes, informing, protecting, and speaking on behalf of patients, this is to ensure that patient rights are protected. There are three core values regarding patient advocacy which are safeguarding patient autonomy, acting on behalf of patients, and promoting social justice in healthcare. Now patient advocacy radiates both positive and negative effects if correct, or not correct, measures are taken. Positive patient advocacy includes increased professional satisfaction, self confidence and self esteem, as well as maintenance of their personal integrity and moral principles. Negative consequences might include loss of reputation, friends, and self esteem but can also lead to moral stress or dilemma. Physicians and staff have been let go of their jobs because of wrongdoing regarding patient rights and advocacy.


What does a patient advocate do?

Advocates are not only important for bettering communication but also for patients' mental and emotional health. A lot of the time, all patients may need is someone to be there for them and listen to them. A huge part of patient advocacy is patients having someone to explain their medical information to them as well as explain the effects and treatment options to them. Sometimes patients understand what the physician is telling them but they do not know what that entails or are not told in detail what a condition or medication is completely. Additionally, if a patient is unsure of what to do pertaining to their medical treatment, a patient advocate may explain their options, importantly noting that they are only explaining the facts NOT sharing their opinion.


While every patient should have an advocate, only 70% of people do. A health advocate could be a relative, nurse, caregiver, or spouse. It is more prominent in older adults to have a health advocate and/or they are more likely to benefit from having one for medical visits and medication prescribed. This is because they are shown to have more complex and frequent medical needs.


The role of advocacy is extremely important in healthcare because it is key in order to build strong health systems. Patient advocacy should be implemented in all healthcare institutions because it reduces the communication gap between patients and their healthcare

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