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How to Become a Patient Advocate or Navigator

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Updated August 16, 2013

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What Else Do You Need to Know if You Want to Be a Patient Advocate? (And Links)

Patient advocacy is an up-and-coming career, and those who take the time to educate themselves and build their skills and experience will be rewarded with both a solid career and possibly an excellent income. So what else do you need to know if you want to be a patient advocate?

Patient advocates who wish to be self-employed will want to understand what it takes to build a patient advocacy business, and readily know the answers to the questions potential patient-clients will ask. You may be the best advocate in the world, but if you can't answer these questions about your business, patients will move on to hire someone else.

Finally, because the concept of patient advocacy is so new, and because there are so many hurdles faced while trying to navigate the current American healthcare system, patient advocates may be surprised to learn they are not always welcome or received well by medical providers.

Those advocates who choose to work for hospitals and other facilities may find frustrated patients and pressure from their employers to cut their advocacy efforts short if it becomes too expensive to serve the patient.

Advocates who work directly for patients will find that their patients are grateful and relieved, but the medical and payer professionals may look at them with suspicion because they don't understand the advocate's roll.

These hurdles can often be overcome using excellent communication skills - which is why they are so necessary for professional advocates. They should not dissuade someone with the knowledge and willingness to be a patient advocate from giving this very rewarding career a try.

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