WHAT DO PATIENT ADVOCATES DO?
Patient advocates are the Horse Whisperers of modern healthcare. They work with patients to help them navigate the confusing and murky waters of healthcare, from insurance, to costs for procedures and much more. Patient advocates meet one-on-one with patients, helping them understand procedures, connect with doctors and specialists, looking at options for treatment, financial responsibilities and more.
Patient advocates come from a variety of backgrounds and can focus on many different aspects of advocacy. There are many different types of employers for patient advocates as well, from insurance companies and hospitals, to non profit organizations. Patient advocates can also be hired privately. Regardless, patient advocates have to be compassionate and extremely knowledgeable about the healthcare process.
HOW MUCH DO PATIENT ADVOCATES MAKE?
This very much depends on who the employer is. Private patient advocates can command many hundreds of dollars an hour, while other sites say that the average income for patient advocates is around $15.86 per hour.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Since this is a very new job, very few degree or accreditation programs exist. Because of the highly technical and medical based nature of the job, many people come from a nursing, or similar healthcare background, using their years of experience in the field to help them understand both the patient's needs and the complexity of healthcare.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Compassion: Patient advocates work with people in pain or trauma who are scared and may have a lot of questions. Being understanding of their needs is useful.
- Patience: Patient advocates will work with people who want answers immediately, or have to deal with slow-moving and confusing health care procedures. Staying cool in stressful situations is important.
- Communication Skills: Patient advocates need to be able to listen to patients and understand what they need, listen and communicate with insurance providers, doctors, nurses and specialists, and relay this information back to their clients.
- Attention to Detail: Understanding the complex nature of healthcare will require attention to detail to ensure that patients get the proper care.