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how to find and choose a patient or health advocate

Patient advocacy is an area of specialization in health care concerned with advocacy for patients, survivors, and carers. The patient advocate may be an individual or an organization, often, though not always, concerned with one specific group of disorders. The terms patient advocate and patient advocacy can refer both to individual advocates providing services that organizations also provide, and to organizations whose functions extend to individual patients. Some patient advocates work for the institutions that are directly responsible for the patient’s care.

Typical advocacy activities are the following: patient rights, matters of privacy, confidentiality or informed consent, patient representation, awareness building, support and education of patients, survivors and their carers.

Patient advocates give a voice to patients, survivors and their carers on healthcare-related (public) fora, informing the public, the political and regulatory world, health-care providers (hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies etc.), organizations of health-care professionals, the educational world, and the medical and pharmaceutical research communities.