Patient advocacy

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A Patient Advocate acts as a support structure and if legally contracted to do so may act as a liaison between a patient and their Health Care Provider(s). Most health care professionals see themselves as advocates for their patients, however their time and scope are limited by their job function. The Independent Patient Advocate is a vital instrument for both patient and healthcare providers in the optimal delivery of health care.

The terms Patient Advocate and Patient Advocacy have a broad range of usage and may be applied to various subcategories of individual advocates and organizations providing various levels of advocacy. A Healthcare Advocate may provide some of the services that a Patient Advocate provides. The Patient Advocate may be an individual or an organization. Patient Advocacy organizations are often non-profit and focus on one aspect of health care or a specific disease, generally within fundraising and awareness campaigns, including healthcare library literature and information services. These organizations rarely engage in the Patient Advocacy function of clinical support, liaising with patient and provider. There are also governmental agencies that study and ensure compliance with government regulations including financial aid. Some patient advocates work for the institutions that are directly responsible for the patient’s care.

Patient Advocacy is a burgeoning field in the early stages of legislative definition and there is currently no accredited...
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