Patient advocates assist patients being treated at a medical facility, and they help answer any questions or concerns the patients may have regarding their care and the health care system. The patient advocate acts as a liaison, facilitating communication between the patient and medical professional during the patient's stay in the health care facility. The advocate's duties vary depending on their employer, but they generally include interacting with newly admitted patients, documenting and investigating patient complaints and issues, following up with patients, and performing analysis on the overall quality of care at their institution.
When working directly for a hospital or other medical facility, the patient advocate's job is to help the patient and their employer; patient advocates ensure that the hospitals works to improve its services to prevent future claims or issues. When working independently, patient advocates work with the patient and their family. They help individuals learn how to choose the best insurance policy, get the most from their benefits, and follow up with medical service providers, as well as provide assistance and support to patients who may have been denied services. In addition, some patient advocates help clients work with employers for insurance- or job retention-related issues.
This position may be either part time or full time, and the hours may vary depending on the organization and type of clients. Patient advocate jobs generally require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent. Experience working with clients or patients in a related role is required, and experience working with the Medicaid/Medicare systems are a plus. Excellent written and oral communication skills are needed, and the patient advocate must adhere to patient confidentiality standards at all times.
Patient Advocate Tasks
Convey questions, complaints, problems, and concerns of patients to proper personnel.
Resolve patients' complaints and grievances.
Describe and interpret health care procedures and policies to patients.
Serve as intermediary between health care organization and patients, and patients' relatives in resolving patient care problems.
Prepare incident reports for potential legal issues.