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What can a patient advocate do?

A Patient Deals With Pap Smear Feedback

Middle Aged Woman

A month after a routine pap smear, a 50-year-old woman receives a call from the facility that did the exam. They tell her she needs a biopsy because the results were abnormal. During the call, the healthcare provider is vague and gives no additional information. She makes another appointment, but it is cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. A week later she arrives for the biopsy. Afterwards, she receives almost no information on what they are looking for or what the results could mean. She leaves disappointed, as she feels the appointment was rushed and they didn't have time for her.

Two weeks later, she decides to call the facility to follow up on the test results. They had told her that they would call with results within five business days but failed to do so. Surprisingly, she is informed that she has a cancerous growth. She is outraged that the facility sat on this life-changing information. She finally gets in touch with the doctor, and he spends almost no time discussing the cancer and presents surgery as the only option. She is referred to an oncologist.

Patient Advocate Response

At the patient’s request, the advocate researches gynecologic oncologists in her network and is able to find a practice that specializes in her specific cancer. The advocate accompanies her to the oncology appointment and they confirm the diagnosis. The advocate also makes sure that there are no alternatives and that surgery is the only option. During the appointment, the advocate makes sure the patient is heard and that all medical terminology is translated for her. Next, the advocate works with the patient to coordinate the surgery and post-op aftercare.

A Patient Faces Financial Hardship With Medication

A 65 year old woman who just underwent a hip replacement surgery was prescribed Eliquis® to prevent blood clots. She has limited mobility due to her recent surgery and lives a great distance from medical services. Her other common drug therapy options require frequent blood testing, which is very inconvenient for her. Therefore, her only feasible option to prevent blood clots is to take Eliquis®. Even with her insurance, she pays an exorbitant amount to fill her prescription. She feels helpless, as she does not have the funds to pay for her medication.

Patient Advocate Response

After consulting with the patient, the advocate collaborates with the pharmacy and finds out she is paying a great amount due to a gap in her insurance coverage. The patient advocate researches payment assistance through the manufacturer and helps Lisa fill out and submit the necessary paperwork to receive payment assistance. This is a common issue among senior citizens that can easily be taken care of by a patient advocate.

Woman in a Field

A Patient Faces Challenges to Medication & Disease Management

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a 70-year-old man with diabetes attended events at his church and had an active social life. His activities and routines helped him keep up with his prescriptions and blood sugar monitoring. He remembered to check his blood sugar around meals because some of his friends also have diabetes and would often test at the same time. Once the pandemic hit and he was no longer able to participate in his normal activities, he stopped keeping track of his blood sugar and often forgot to refill his medications until he was completely out.

Older man preparing to go fishing.

Patient Advocate Response

The patient advocate arranges a call with his doctor to discuss the issues at hand. After confirming the patient’s medications and dosages, the advocate researches local pharmacies and advises him about their hours and delivery options. From there, the advocate regularly checks in with the patient to make sure he is taking blood sugar readings and keeping up with his medications.

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