Health care is complicated. When you or a loved one faces ongoing treatment and/or a complex medical problem, the whole system can feel overwhelming. Multiple doctors and other medical professionals are usually involved and so are insurance companies.
These situations often leave people confused and unsure of who to turn to for help with questions and advice for how to manage the process of getting health care services. This is where a health care advocate can step in and help.
What is a Health Care Advocate?
A health care advocate is someone who can help you or your loved one navigate the health care system. Advocates can be a friend or family member. They can also be paid professionals who have experience in health care and help people who don’t have an advocate already or who need expert help.
Things they can do to help include:
- Help you understand the medical treatment process and figure out what your preferences are and what you want.
- Make sure you understand your rights
- Ask questions and addressing your concerns with doctors and other medical professionals.
- Go over hospital bills and talk with the insurance company about charges.
- Research conditions and treatments
- Keep track of paperwork, appointments, and medication lists to be prepared for every appointment.
Why Health Care Advocates are Important
Health Care advocates are important because they will ask questions, do research, and help manage the treatment or care process in a way that puts you or your loved one first. Doctors and other medical professionals are knowledgeable and experienced but they won’t always understand what works for you. You might even feel pressured into making decisions about treatment without fully understanding its implications for you or your loved one.
An advocate can help walk you through these choices and help you figure out what you want to do without exerting pressure. They are there to help you or your loved one. An advocate might even find something that a medical professional missed or hadn’t considered before.
Health care advocates are there to help you or your loved one. Whether it’s just taking notes or asking questions their focus is to help you understand and get the most out of the health care system.