It’s hard enough when your doctor informs you that you have a serious or potentially life-threatening disease.  Then, you may be presented with all sorts of treatment options. And when you wonder if your insurance will cover the costs, it’s almost too much to fathom.

In a way, each patient has to be his or her patient advocate. In today’s fast-paced world, doctors have to multi-task. Physicians do their best, but they don’t have  time to keep up with every patient’s needs 24 hours, seven days a week. Patients need to invest in a pen and note pad and keep track of their diseases, conditions and treatment plans.

Some patients need an extra layer of assistance. My eyes opened when I read the following New York Times article by Lesley Alderman. It’s comforting to know that advocates are available to help patients navigate the thoroughly complex health care system:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/12/health/12patient.html?_r=1

I would love to see more patient advocates. In fact, the Times article mentions that hot growth careers include patient advocates.   If you’re a baby boomer, it’s likely your parents are senior citizens. It’s comforting to know that seniors, faced with new health challenges, may benefit from hiring patient advocates.

When you think of it, whether you’re a 20-something, baby boomer or senior citizen, you can probably use a second pair of eyes to walk you through the perplexing maze of health care.

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