What is Patient Advocacy?
Patient advocacy is defined as an area of specialty in health care that gives a voice to patients, their families, and their caregivers. This role can include informing the public of education surrounding a specific area/topic of care, working/participating in the political and regulatory realm, and working with organizations of health-care professionals, the educational world, and the medical research community on behalf of patient initiatives.
Patient advocates can be an individual or an organization, often, though not always, concerned with one specific group or area of focus. Some patient advocates work for the institutions that are directly responsible for the patient’s care.
Organizations for patients to engage with for national advocacy patients’ rights issues:
Coalition for Patients’ Rights – The Coalition for Patients’ Rights (CPR) consists of more than 35 organizations representing a variety of licensed health care professionals. Although they are excellent and indispensable caregivers to a large segment of the U.S. population, these professionals, who are neither medical doctors (MDs) nor doctors of osteopathy (DOs), continually have to fend off efforts by organizations to limit their scope of practice. The CPR was formed for the sake of patients—to ensure that the growing needs of the American health system can be met and that patients everywhere have access to quality health care providers of their choice.
Covermycare.org – CoverMyCare is a national grassroots program of information and patient engagement designed to create public advocacy for access to all healthcare providers who are licensed in the states.
Getting involved in both national and state associations can be a great first step to discovering how you can help to serve a specific area of integrative care further.
A few organizations to get you started: