What Is A Health Advocate?
Working on direct service to the family or individual while promoting health as well as access to healthcare in communities and larger public is what health advocacy about. Not only that, health advocates are there to promote and to support rights of patient in healthcare arena, enhance health policy initiatives focused on the safe and quality care available and help build capacity in improving community health.
Health advocates are ideal as well in terms of addressing challenges of patient centered care in this complex health care system. The IOM or Institute of Medicine is defining patient centered care as a health care that is establishing partnership among patients, their families when appropriate and practitioners to guarantee that decisions respect the patient’s needs, wants as well as preferences and that the patients have education and support needed in making decisions and participating in their own care.
In addition to that, patient centered care is one of the overreaching goals of health advocacy on top of a safer medical systems and greater patient involvement in the healthcare design and delivery.
Patient representatives, educators, care managers, ombudsmen, health advisers and patient navigators are all considered as health advocates who work directly in patient care environment similar to community health centers, hospitals, long term care facilities, private and independent practice and patient services programs of non-profit organizations. They are collaborating with several other health care providers in order to mediate the conflicts and to facilitate a positive change. And as being a health information specialists and educators, their advocates are working to empower other people.
In policy arenas, health advocates are working for a positive change in health care system, protection and enhancement of the rights of patients from position in government agencies, access to quality care, disease specific voluntary associations, national health policy organizations and grassroots and media. There may be distinction between patient advocates who specifically work with or on behalf of families and individual patients or disease specific voluntary association and even health advocates whose work is focused primarily on communities, systems as a whole or policies. However, the terms health advocate and patient advocate are often used interchangeably.
The rapidly growing sectors of health advocacy consist of advocates in the clinical research settings especially those who are concentrated in protecting human subjects of medical research, advocates who are serving clients in the private practice alone or even in bigger and more established companies and advocates in various disease specific associations most especially the ones who are centered on widespread chronic conditions or genetic disorders.
Health advocates play an important role in the society as they make sure that everyone gets quality and top notch healthcare service.
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