Your health is too important not to hire a patient advocate
We make healthcare safe & simple for you!
Guiding you throughout your treatment
We guide you efficiently before, during and after your treatment. We help you interact efficiently with your doctor to allow you to keep the control of your treatment. We divide our actions into 3 important steps:
1. Before the consultation or the hospital stay. First, we gather all your medical files, we review them, ask you to clarify what is not clear and make sure all x-rays or any lab tests you’ve had are included. We prepare you for your next medical appointment by establishing a list of questions and reviewing with you what the topics are where you need the most information to make the most of your (usually short) medical consultation. If needed or wished, we accompany you to your doctor’s appointment. We can also find someone who can be with you in the hospital.
2. During the consultation or the hospital stay. Most physicians appreciate the work we do upfront and like to have well-prepared patients. By gathering all the information, we also allow all the professionals to keep looking at the big picture. They usually also take more time for you and will ensure quality is provided as they also know that we are experienced witnesses of their performance.
During the appointment we facilitate the communication between you and your doctor (rephrasing technical/complex medical words, repeating questions when not fully answered by the doctor and allowing you to express your true feelings without fear). We can stay with you at the hospital and concentrate especially on your safety (controlling that everybody washes their hands being the first step).
3. After the consultation or the hospital stay. We also take notes not only to ensure that the information doesn’t get lost as most patients usually keep 10% of the information they receive during a consultation but also to be able to inform your family if you agree. We coordinate and schedule the next steps: next appointments at the same practice or with another doctor (a specialist), lab visits, radiology examination and whatever other medical processes are planned. We review the prescription you received and search for more affordable options (or more covered by your insurance) and review conflicts with other pills you might already take to minimize medical risks and non-adherence (the risk of avoiding taking the treatment because of side-effects for instance).
By doing so, we are able to decrease the typical duplication of tests & medical errors that arise so often because of a lack of coordination between physicians/hospitals/labs. If you can leave the hospital but cannot go home, we will provide help on finding rehabilitation or adult day care centers and if you can go home but need help, we will locate home nurses or home medical services. We will coordinate every step of the transition to ensure a seamless process.
Dealing with a difficult diagnosis
We help you deal with a difficult diagnosis. When the diagnosis of a severe disease if given, it is hard not to lose the focus on what is the next most sensible step. You are under shock, you can’t believe it is true (there must be a mistake), you are anxious, afraid and not in a normal state of mind. Sometimes, your doctor will use medical words that you won’t understand (although he doesn’t do it on purpose).
If during a normal consultation, patients usually keep in mind 10% of what the doctor tells them and when it is a consultation to tell you that you have a potentially life-threatening disease, you usually only keep in mind that your life is at stake.
This is normal and that is why you need someone to keep the ability to record all the important information given by the doctor. This person can be a family member (although he/she might be as afraid as you) but it is often better to have a professional patient advocate with you. He will know what to do, has experience with these situations and can ask the doctor to rephrase a sentence or give more explanation. He can also take notes to transmit the information to other family members accurately.
We research your medical condition and explore all your treatment options as well as clinical trial possibilities. We explain the results in an understandable way so you can make the best choice for yourself. We fight overtreatment that might not be in your best interest and therefore ask for a second or a third opinion. We also help on pain management.
Why is it so bad? There are many reasons that all add to each other.
Some factors come from your doctor. Doctors are human and make mistakes like others. Unfortunately, it is often not seen as acceptable for your doctor to tell you, “I don’t know” and that pushes him or her to decide which treatment you need even if he or she is not 100% sure. Also, medicine has become increasingly complex in the last 20 years with the knowledge to record getting even bigger than before.
Preventing Medical Errors
According to the famous Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US after heart disease and cancer, killing at least 250,000 Americans every year. This alarming result has shaken the US medical world when published in 2016. The most frequent errors are misdiagnosis (thinking a patient has a certain disease/problem although it is another one or thinking that the patient doesn’t have any disease/problem, when in fact he/she has a real one), delayed diagnosis (for instance a cancer that is diagnosed when it is not curable anymore), an infection (commonly acquired during a hospital stay because of negligence in disinfection) and usage of bad medical devices that do not work properly.
Most patients experiencing a medical error report dissatisfaction with the hospital or physician response (nearly 9 out 10 patients). It is usually easy to hide medical errors as a human body can be unpredictable even when everything is done perfectly. Therefore, we advise our patients to take some medical error prevention measures: Write down and bring with you a list of all your medication (including the dosage), allergies, previous health problems, name of your doctors (and telephone numbers). Also, list all the questions you might have. Remind every person touching your body or any device linked to it to disinfect his/her hands.
Ask (and make sure you understand the answers) to be not only informed but part of every decision about your health. Be sure to ask every time if another alternative is possible. When discharged from the hospital make sure you have all the next steps written down for easy reference. Make sure you understand everything that will follow the hospital stay and who is responsible for contacting and coordinating the care that will take place outside of the hospital.
Unfortunately, it is often impossible for patients to be psychologically or physically fit enough to ensure full control of these steps and one of our roles is to help you deal with this complexity. We prepare you (or a member of your family) and we can even stay with you at the hospital.
Conflict prevention and resolution
Healthcare is a very sensitive domain and dissatisfaction often leads to conflicts. We have a lot of experience in conflict resolution between a physician/hospital and a patient. It can occur in the case of a medical outcome, a clear malpractice case or a privacy breach. We can help you avoid years of legal battles for uncertain outcomes (proving a medical error is very difficult). In case you experience a complication, we are really skilled at managing the situation.
We ensure that the physician is aware that it is something serious, communicates with you until it is healed and expresses that he understands your suffering. We usually require that a conversation takes place in order to find a way that allows mutual satisfaction. Our neutral approach is based on principles of mediation aimed at reaching a certain goal that we define with you.
Conflicts can also arise between members of your family. Health issues are so stressful that it is unfortunately a common problem. We can also help you to prevent them and manage them. We ensure that each member of the family understands the medical issues and the potential treatments, is able to express their vision of the problem and listen to others and we help you to define who can decide what. Our goal is to keep your family united as you will need full support from every member.