Clinical: Healthcare Advocacy Checklist for Patients and Providers

Healthcare Advocacy Checklist for Patients and Providers

Osmosis Team
Published on Nov 8, 2023. Updated on Nov 2, 2023.

In today's Osmosis blog, we're sharing a patient advocacy checklist developed by Dr. Maria Pfrommer, filled with helpful advice on everything from communicating effectively with your care team to understanding insurance. 

When patients and their families face challenging medical diagnoses, there are a number of proactive steps they can take to navigate the US healthcare system's complexities. Bring this handy patient advocacy checklist along with you to improve both the patient and caregiver experience.

1. Seek Information and Education 

Research the medical condition, treatment options, and potential outcomes. Reliable sources include reputable medical websites, literature provided by healthcare providers, and support organizations dedicated to the specific condition.

2. Open Communication with Healthcare Providers

Establish clear and open communication with healthcare providers. Ask questions, express concerns, and seek clarification about the diagnosis, treatment plans, and potential side effects. It's crucial to be an active participant in decision-making.

3. Build a Support Network

Reach out to friends, family, and support groups. Sharing experiences with others facing similar challenges can provide emotional support and practical advice.

4. Become an Advocate

Be an advocate for the patient's needs and preferences. Ensure that healthcare providers are aware of the patient's values, preferences, and any cultural or religious considerations that may impact their care.

5. Explore Second Opinions

In complex medical situations, seeking a second opinion can offer additional perspectives and information. It can also provide reassurance and confirm the recommended course of action.

6. Maintain Organized Medical Records

Keep a comprehensive record of medical history, test results, and treatment plans. This can facilitate communication between different healthcare providers and ensure continuity of care.

7. Consider Psychological Support

Dealing with challenging medical situations can take a toll on mental health. Seeking counseling or therapy can help patients and families cope with the emotional aspects of illness. (Learn how to choose a therapist.)

8. Understand Insurance Coverage

Familiarize yourself with insurance coverage, including potential out-of-pocket costs and financial assistance programs. This knowledge can prevent unexpected financial burdens.

9. Take Care of Physical and Mental Well-Being

Attend to both your physical and mental well-being. This includes following prescribed treatments, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking professional help if emotional distress becomes overwhelming.

10. Plan for the Future 

In situations where the medical condition may have long-term implications, consider discussing and planning for future scenarios, including end-of-life care preferences and legal arrangements, when necessary.

About the Author

Maria Pfrommer, DNP, Ph.D., FNP-BC, RN, is the Osmosis Director of Nursing Education. Dr. Pfrommer conferred a Doctor of Nursing (DNP) from Duke University, a Ph.D. in Post-Secondary Education from Capella University, and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Thomas Jefferson University. Maria brings a wealth of experience in curriculum development, publishing, presenting, and teaching in healthcare. Maria has provided faculty and student development for Elsevier since 2005 on Evolve and has worked on various instructor and student projects as a subject matter expert (SME) with Elsevier, including HESI, Sherpath, Test Banks, TEACH Lessons, case studies, and video scripts.