In a world where we need support and aren’t afraid to ask for it, patient advocates are here to help us and ease our minds regarding specific health issues. These people are here to guide us through health procedures and give us an in-depth analysis of everything we need to know about a condition.
People who work as patient advocates need to have outstanding knowledge of specific healthcare topics to provide you with the support you need. The people in these positions are trained to be qualified to educate others on medical conditions. You want to ensure that your patient advocate is a good fit for the job, so you may wonder whether they are qualified enough.
Today, we will talk about how independent patient advocates get trained to give support to others.
Some of the Responsibilities of Independent Patient Advocates
People in the healthcare industry need to possess detailed knowledge of the human anatomy and anything that could go wrong in one’s body. Although they are a part of the healthcare industry, patient advocates can help you in different ways than doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. Here are some of the duties these people have:
- Supporting patients: independent patient advocates have a job to appoint visits to a healthcare institution for their clients and visit them if hospitalized;
- Help: patient advocates can help their clients choose the right doctor;
- Communication: a patient advocate should be available to their clients at all times and discuss the client’s healthcare concerns with them;
- Management: a patient advocate should take care of their clients’ billing and finances regarding healthcare expenses.
What Does It Take To Become An Independent Patient Advocate?
If we were to say that there is specific training you can go through and simply become a patient advocate, we would be lying. Various factors will influence what one’s training will look like and what will be their future profession. Let’s look at what it takes to become a certified patient advocate.
Field of interest
Before becoming an independent patient advocate, a person must choose a field of interest. You can gain different job positions and titles by successfully finishing the training. For example, your field of interest can be a care navigator, customer advocate, patient representative, or nurse navigator. All of these titles carry different responsibilities and training programs.
Suppose you want to become an independent patient advocate or want to make sure to hire a certified one. In that case, you must ensure that certification comes from a verified source, such as governments or state healthcare institutions. One can take many courses, such as nursing courses, finance courses, law courses, etc., to become a patient advocate, but you must have a document confirming your qualifications. This piece of paper will prove that you are a patient advocate since it has to be issued by a verified source.
How Do Independent Patient Advocates Get Trained?
To become an independent patient advocate, you must undergo a training program. You can find these programs in different healthcare institutions across the globe. However, when the pandemic arose, many of these courses became available online so that you can get trained in person or online, and we will discuss these two methods below.
In the traditional sense of becoming an independent patient advocate, one can gain experience in a healthcare institution. However, before being able to practice, you need to educate yourself on all the crucial matters of being a patient advocate.
Some schools and universities offer programs that will give you the theoretical knowledge you need. After getting to know all the principles, you can practice what you have learned. Most of these healthcare institutions will be able to give you a certificate of practice that will make you a qualified to take the patient advocacy certification test.
When it comes to online courses, the method of becoming a patient advocate differs in many ways from the traditional method. First, you need to educate yourself on all the education options available. Since you are not obliged to attend classes in person, you can find credible sources yourself and learn from them.
After that, you will need to apply to gain practical knowledge, which is not the case with the traditional approach (they don’t have to apply it to practice). Lastly, you will get your certificate from a verified institution (usually the government) after your knowledge has been tested.
The Training Process
When it comes to professional training, you may be wondering how long it will take to become a certified patient advocate, and what is the price you have to pay to become one. Depending on the institution you attend to become a patient advocate, it can take anywhere from 6-12 months to get the additional knowledge you need to be a patient advocate.
When it comes to the price, it can also vary depending on the institution you choose. For example, at some institution the complete cost of the training program will be around $6000. However, you can find courses for free and only pay for the patient advocate test.
To get your BCPA (Board Certified Patient Advocate), you will first need to take the certification exam. Your eligibility will be judged case by case, and you will have to prove your previous practice in patient advocacy.
Independent patient advocates are here to change the world and help people better understand their healthcare concerns. However, the job of a patient advocate is not just about providing support – it is also about helping their clients with any other questions, such as billing and finances.
To become a patient advocate, you will have to undergo a training process and get certified. We have explained the different training options for people who want to pursue this career and the factors influencing the training process.
Medical Disclaimer: All the content available on the website is just for informational purposes. It’s not a substitute for any Professional advice. Don’t take it personally. As a medical student, I’m just trying to use my information through my content, and please keep in mind it’s not written by a professional doctor. Use the data just for educational purposes.
Having completed my Bachelor’s degree in medicine and currently pursuing a house job at a well reputed hospital in California, I decided to utilize my spare time in sharing knowledge with others through my blog. Apart from my time spent in the medical field, I love to read fiction novels and go on long drives.